B-005 Toshiba Science Museum

 Toshiba Science Museum– An Impression Note

♣  Introduction of Visit

Outlook Toshiba Museum川崎にある「東芝未来科学館」を今年2月に訪問した。旧施設は川崎市郊外にあったが、2014年JR川崎駅に隣接する場所に移設、大幅にリニューアルして開館、一般公開している。東芝は、日本を代表するエレクトロニクス・メーカーであるが、博物館は、東芝の技術開発の粋を紹介すると共に、日本全体の電気電子技術発展の姿を伝える数少ない企業博物館の一つである。

Recently I visited “Toshiba Science Museum” to expand my knowledge of electric industries in Japan. The museum moved to the new site at near the Kawasaki JR station with major renovation. And the new museum has opened in 2014 after renewal of exhibition. The Museum purposes to show up Toshiba’s advanced technology, but also tries to introduce a historical development of technology of Japan and global world as well with the visual and animating way in the exhibition.Here’s the visit report of the museum.

Japanese and English website page is provided by the Museum. Let’s contact the following URL if you want to get further info.
 http://toshiba-mirai-kagakukan.jp/en/index.htm

♣  Concepts of Science Museum
The basic concepts of the museum is, according to the museum massage, to spread useful knowledge about the cutting-edge advanced products of Japanese electric  science and technology, particularly in Toshiba, then contribute some to the science education, and IMG_1181aimed to preserve historical technology products and heritages of electronics in Japan. In this line, the Museum organizes the various exhibits well with systematic way using many visitor friendly machines and devices.

Toshiba M 00x_03

 ♣  Allocation of the Museum Exhibition 

The Toshiba Science Museum allocates the exhibitions into three main corners, such as  “Future Zone”, “Science Zone” and “History Zone”.

Toshiba future link_02The Future Zone is showing the image of future people’s life, for example ; how the future town scenes will be changed by advancement of electric technology, ; how the household management can be made by the application of the electricity, ; how the building function and structure will be transformed, ;how the medical treatments are improved in future. These themes are visually displayed  in the science_zone_seidenki_01exhibition with the attractive measures.

The Science Zone provides learning chance to the visitors through experimental facilities. They all intend to disseminate the essential knowledge on the science and technology with enjoying their touch and seeing the objects. Many young students are gathered joyfully in front of machines when I visited.

♣  Significance of Historic Zone for knowledge Seekers.

The History Zone, slightly different from the above, is introducing the Toshiba’s company Tanaka and Ichiokadevelopment in the chronological way . It exhibits  the achievements of leading electric manufacturers, and tries to indicate the at most excellence of technology by showing major electric product examples. Such as in the “Toshiba Founders Corner” and “Toshiba First Products; a story of technology development”.

IMG_1204Among them, the most impressive records and collections are the unique and eye-catching artistic machines  invented by Hisashige HisashibeTanaka and Ichioka Fujioka. They are prominent forefront engineers and techno-entrepreneurs who laid foundation of the Toshiba Electric Company.

♣  Tanaka’s Genius Mechanical Technology

A engineer Tanaka, called “Karakuri Giemon”, is a well-known mechanical inventor in the age of Edo Tanaka's miracle intents(19c), who made up a lot of mechanical moving automata dolls installed complicate systems, unique oil lamps, clock and watches named “Wa Dokei”, Japan’s first telegraph machines. And He is also well known person to establish the Tanaka Manufacturing Co. in Meiji period (19c) and also have started the Shibaura Electric Works later, and then laid the initial base of Toshiba (Tokyo Shibaura Electric) now.

First Toshiba building 19cThey are a great important to see how Japanese mechanical processing technology has been advanced, and how Japanese electric technology had set the first steps in the early time. It’s a surprise the fact that such elaborate products have been produced in the early Edo period. The exhibitions remind us again the marvels how Japan could  succeed the fastest development of industrial technology in the short time from almost nothing stage, and we have to recognize these success is owing much to the pioneers.

Toshiba Tanaka Exhibits xx

(The good introduction of Tanaka’s achievement is available in English by the URL: http://www.tofugu.com/2013/07/29/tanaka-hisashige-father-of-toshiba-edison-of-japan/) “Tanaka Hisashige: Father of Toshiba, Edison of Japan” by John

IMG_1152The Japanese industrial engineering circles, for commemorating these contributions of Tanaka and others, have challenged to reproduce the artistic “Man-nen Dokei” (Perpetual Clock) in 1970s, and they astonished its outstanding sophistication and tremendous high levels of technology. The other invented products are also suggesting the technological genius. These might have influenced much for the later development of today’s robot technology and precision mechanics like watches and metal products in Japan. I’ll show some examples bellow.

Mannenn index_img_05Manen skill_img_08Manen skill_img_04

(National Project to Restore the Man-nen Jimeisho)
The culmination of a great technologist’s pursuit of his ideals, the Man-nen Jimeisho occupies a special place in history. Japan recently undertook a national project to disassemble and restore the clock and build a replica, with the goal of bringing Hisashige’s handiwork back to life. Refurbishing this cultural heirloom, which represents a defining moment in the history of craftsmanship and embodies a genuine passion for artistry, was more than a matter of romantic nostalgia for the past; it was an enterprise of deep significance, for it restored a major symbol of Japanese science and technology. Now, 154 years after it was first built, the masterpiece into which Hisashige poured his spirit of ingenuity has begun marking time for a new era.
(http://toshiba-mirai-kagakukan.jp/en/learn/history/toshiba_history/spirit/clock/index.htm

♣  Fujioka’s Contribution to the Electric Science and Technology

On the other hand, Fujioka is a person who has built the academic base of Japanese electric science and technology, and  he is well-known as a pioneer who developed Ichioka Storythe electric lights and power generations for the first in Japan. He is also noted as an entrepreneur establishing an electric company named “Tokyo Dento” in Meiji period.

(see URL : http://toshiba-mirai-kagakukan.jp/learn/history/toshiba_history/tour/ichisuke/en/publish/6bf8ae1b-a9ca-431c-b7dc-a9f21e901e7d/index.html

Later this company, which established by Fujioka, had merged later with Shibaura Electric and changed its name to Tokyo Shibaura Electric Co. (current “Toshiba”) in the next stage.  Fujioka has successfully produced a great deal of advanced electric products in this process, and he fostered well many prominent electric engineers.  His major achievement and products is seen in the following pictures.

Fujioka xx-05Fujioka xx-01Fujioka xx-03

Fujioka xx-06Fujioka xx-02

♣  Story of “Toshiba’s First Electric Products”

The next “Toshiba First Product” corner displays the series of Toshiba electrical products, which are standing out goods and devices developed for the first time in Japan by Toshiba. They seem to symbolize the successful track record of technology development  of electric industries in the pre- and post War Japan, not only of Toshiba itself. The exhibits cover wide range of products from the household electrics, lighting apparatus, radio and TV, to the industrial sophistication, like power generator, locomotives, computer and IC devices. Many are designated as the Japanese industrial heritage products. The some example products are shown in the bellow.

Toshiba Turbine xxToshiba induction MotorToshiba Washing MToshiba RadioToshiba rice cookerToshiba TACToshiba Worpro

♣  Technology Development and industrialization

In viewing the museum collection, we are deeply impressed by Japanese engineers’ insatiable efforts. These have been the long process, like actively absorbing the Western advanced technology in the early period, modified  them by mobilizing their traditional craftsmanship and technological base in the next stage, then created their unique and original foundation of sophisticated technology by producing many manufacturing goods. The process has seemingly linked to the successful results of rapid industrialization of japan in the early 1900s, even in the post War Japan. We ought to note that the industrial technology triumph of Japan was formed in the whole process, which are exerted by these forerunners, and it also due to the all-out efforts by wide range of ambitious techno-engineers in the technology advancement.

Toshiba ChronoToshiba - Fujioka im_01Toahiba-YamaguchiToshiba Yamaguchi xxTanaka B line

♣  Electric Industry Today and Current Technology Advancement

Japanese industries are still at the highest position in the industrial technology in the world, even though being under pressure in business. It is sure that Japanese electric industries had the years of glorious success in 1980s, but after that they are facToshiba Now xx-01ing the various challenges caused by the catching up from the new emerging countries, and the globalization, rapid expansion of information technology. Similarly current Toshiba is under pressure from managerial problems in business. However, when we see the museum exhibits and activities, the technologies which have accumulated in its history, Toshiba’s technology assets are huge and profound.
The major issues would be how these accumulated asset will be effectively utilized and apply them to the practical businesses corresponding to the people’s real needs today and future. I think that Toshiba must have a power to learn from their own development history and experiences of pioneers which had been created their foundation. At least, we could notify the innovation spirits initially exerted by the pioneering techno- entrepreneurs of Toshiba are so profound. I got a strong impression that the vestiges of these predecessors is good reference not only to Toshiba, but Japanese industrialists as a whole.

♣  Meaning to visit Museum to trace the Technology Development

Anyhow, I felt that the Toshiba Science Museum provides us many examples how the advancement of the science and technology have contributed to fulfill our life and future direction of technology. But important things are that the museum convinces us how much untiring dedication was made by the techno-engineers to attain the technology triumph behind the scene and how successfully worked out the sophisticated products.IMG_1189

That recognition of these facts would help for promoting the technology development in the newly developing industrializing country.
In this mean, the visit and direct observation of the museum collections in this type would be a good reference to the Asian young generations to expand their knowledge about technology and to seek new ideas to develop them.

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