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Between universalism and regionalism: universal systematics from imperial Japan

  • JUNG LEE (a1)


Historiographic discussions of the universality and regionality of science have to date focused on European cases for making regional science universal. This paper presents a new perspective by moving beyond European origins and illuminating a non-European scientist's engagement with the universality and regionality of science. It will examine the case of the Japanese botanist Nakai Takenoshin (1882–1952), an internationally recognized authority on Korean flora based at Tokyo Imperial University. Serving on the International Committee on Botanical Nomenclature in 1926, Nakai endorsed and acted upon European claims of universal science, whilst simultaneously unsettling them with his regionally shaped systematics. Eventually he came to promote his own systematics, built regionally on Korean flora, as the new universal. By analysing his shifting claims in relation to those of other European and non-European botanists, this paper makes two arguments. First, universalism and regionalism were not contradictory foundations of scientific practice but useful tools used by this non-European botanist in maintaining his scientific authority as a representative Japanese systematist. Second, his claims to universality and regionalism were both imperially charged. An imperially monopolized study of Korean plants left a regional imprint on Nakai's systematics. In order to maintain his scientific authority beyond its region of origin he had to assert either the expanding regionalism of ‘East Asia’ or universalism.



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1 For a skilful review on science studies see Jan Golinski, Making Natural Knowledge: Constructivism and the History of Science, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. There are many empirical discussions of the locality of science within Europe, beginning with Roy Porter and Mikuláš Teich, The Scientific Revolution in National Context, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. In addition, there have been important contributions that questioned the simple ‘European’ origin of modern science by demonstrating the role of colonial exchange, or the colonial contact zone, or the global network of information, in shaping European modern science. See, for example, Harold Cook, Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine, and Science in the Dutch Golden Age, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007; Schaffer, Simon, ‘Newton on the beach: the information order of Principia Mathematica’, History of Science (2009) 47, pp. 243276; Fa-ti Fan, British Naturalists in Qing China, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004; Kapil Raj, Relocating Modern Science: Circulation and the Construction of Knowledge in South Asia and Europe, 1650–1900, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

2 Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle, the Experimental Life, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1985; Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986; Bruno Latour, Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers through Society, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987; Latour, We Have Never Been Modern, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993; Richard H. Drayton, Nature's Government, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000. Müller-Wille, Staffan, ‘Joining Lapland and the Topinambes in flourishing Holland: center and periphery in Linnaean botany’, Science in Context (2003) 16(4), pp. 461488, furthered the thought on ‘centres of calculation’ by emphasizing its dynamic nature shaped in interaction with the peripheral field.

3 The success of Linnaean taxonomy, whose Euro-centrism and gendered aspect are well discussed by Schiebinger, was made due to Linné's dedication, its relative simplicity, and his globalizing strategy of relying on ‘apostles’. Nonetheless, its security was weak and in spite of Britain's longer allegiance to it, it was replaced by constantly redefined ‘natural systems’. Lisbet Koerner, Linnaeus: Nature and Nation, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999; David E. Allen, The Naturalist in Britain, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994; Londa L. Schiebinger, Plants and Empire, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004; Peter F. Stevens, The Development of Biological Systematics: Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu, Nature, and the Natural System, New York: Columbia University Press, 1994; Nicholas Jardine, James A. Secord and Emma C. Spary (eds.), Cultures of Natural History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996; Christophe Bonneuil, ‘The manufacture of species: Kew Gardens, the empire and the standardisation of taxonomic practices in late 19th century botany’, in M.-N. Bourguet, C. Licoppe and O. Sibum, eds., Instruments, Travel and Science: Itineraries of Precision from the 17th to the 20th Century, London: Routledge, 2002, pp. 189–215.

4 For the challenges made by Americans see Sharon E. Kingsland, The Evolution of American Ecology, 1890–2000, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. Scientific globalization occurred only around this time with the participation of non-Europeans, and, to a considerable degree, European latecomers, seeming to acknowledge the universality of modern science for the first time. Regarding Egyptian and Chinese conversion to Western science and technology around this time see Elshakry, Marwa, ‘When science became Western: historiographical reflections’, Isis (2010) 101(1), pp. 98109; Benjamin A. Elman, On Their Own Terms: Science in China, 1550–1900, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005, pp. xxi–xxxviii, 396–422; Elman, , ‘“Universal science” versus “Chinese science”: the changing identity of natural studies in China, 1850–1930’, Historiography East and West (2003) 1, pp. 68116.

5 If Lloyd shows the impossibility of finding a universal way to classify animals and plants, the never-ending concerns by practitioners may confirm this. G.E.R. Lloyd, ‘The natural kinds of animals and plants’, in Lloyd, Cognitive Variations, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2007, pp. 39–57; G. Perry, ‘Nomenclatural stability and the botanical code: a historical review’, in D.L. Hawksworth and International Association for Plant Taxonomy, eds., Improving the Stability of Names: Needs and Options, Kӧnigstein/Taunus: The International Association for Plant Taxonomy, 1991, pp. 79–93. Kohler and Hagen argued that taxonomy, notwithstanding its long tradition, is no less scientific, no less modern and no less insecure than other scientific disciplines. Systematists have made a constant search for a universal standard with new scientific tools as in other disciplines. See e.g. Robert E. Kohler, Landscapes & Labscapes: Exploring the Lab–Field Border in Biology, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2002; Hagen, Joel B., ‘Experimentalists and naturalists in twentieth-century botany: experimental taxonomy, 1920–1950’, Journal of the History of Biology (1984) 17(2), pp. 249270; Hagen, , ‘The statistical frame of mind in systematic biology from quantitative zoology to biometry’, Journal of the History of Biology (2003) 36(2), pp. 353384. For the struggles induced by the efforts to incorporate the theory of evolution to systematics see David L. Hull, Science as a Process, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1990.

6 Marius B. Jansen, The Making of Modern Japan, Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2000; Ramon H. Myers and Mark R. Peattie (eds.), The Japanese Colonial Empire, 1895–1945, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984.

7 Japan colonized Taiwan in 1895, Karafuto (present-day South Sakhalin) in 1905 and the Kwantung Leased Territory in 1905, and made Korea its protectorate in 1905 before the ultimate annexation in 1910, then went on to occupy the equatorial Pacific Islands known as Nanyo in 1914, and founded Manchukuo in 1931. As Bartholomew and Morris-Suzuki conclusively discuss, these Japanese successes, surely owing to their scientific and technological ascendance, were more of a successful hybridization between Western and Japanese traditions than the alleged mindless copy of Western ways. James R. Bartholomew, The Formation of Science in Japan, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993; Tessa Morris-Suzuki, The Technological Transformation of Japan: From the Seventeenth to the Twenty-First Century, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.

8 As one commentator puts it, ‘It is now clear that science was molded by the European imperial age’. The importance of colonial research in European science does not need much more argumentation. Sivasundaram, Sujit, ‘Sciences and the global: on methods, questions, and theory’, Isis (2010) 101, pp. 146158, 154. Natural history or botany received due attention from historians for its economic and ideological role for colonial expansion and its cultures of imperialism. For example, see Lucile H. Brockway, Science and Colonial Expansion: The Role of the British Royal Botanic Gardens, New York: Academic Press, 1979; Drayton, op. cit. (2); Schiebinger, op. cit. (3); Londa Schiebinger and Claudia Swan (eds.), Colonial Botany, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005.

9 This historiographical gap reflects the lack of serious historical attention paid to Japanese modern science in general and of the specific attempt to connect its development with Japanese colonial expansion. The idea that ‘there was clearly much work to be done on science in the Japanese colonial empire’ was widely shared among historians of Japanese science. Clancey, Gregory, ‘Japanese colonialism and its sciences: a commentary’, East Asian Science, Technology and Society (2007) 1(2), pp. 205211, 205; Yutaka, Kawamura (河村豊) et al. , ‘The status and task for war-time science in Japan: the report from the 2003 annual conference’ (日本戦時科学史の現状と課題: 2003年度年会報告), Journal of history of science, Japan. Series II (科学史研究. 第II期) (2004) 43(229), pp. 4556; Tsukahara, Togo, ‘Introduction to feature issue: colonial science in former Japanese imperial universities’, East Asian Science, Technology and Society (2007) 1(2), pp. 147152. Bartholomew's (op. cit. (7)) representative work on the making of Japanese modern science did not give much attention to Japanese imperial expansion. From fields like agricultural sciences and medicine, the integration of Japanese colonial experience and its modern science have begun. Works by Fujiwara Tatsushi (藤原辰史), Iijima Wataru (飯島渉), Setoguchi Akihisa (瀬戸口明久) and Shin Chang-Geon (愼蒼健) are notable. In the area of social sciences, more efforts have been made to show the connection between Japanese colonial development and research and the development of Japanese academia. See the Iwanami series The Study and Knowledge of ‘Imperial’ Japan (‘帝国’日本の学知).

10 Suzuki Zenji (鈴木善次), Biology: The Beginning (バイオロジ-事始), Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kobunkan, 2005; Ueno Masuzo (上野益三), A History of Natural History in Japan (日本博物学史), Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1973. Even when the role of Japanese imperial expansion in the development of its modern botany was noted, it was presented as a mere expansion of research opportunities for Japanese botanists. History of Science Society of Japan (日本科学史学会) (ed.), A Compendium of History of Science in Japan (日本科學技術史大系), vol. 15, Tokyo: Daiichi Hoki Shuppan, 1965, pp. 151–153.

11 Miller discusses the importance of systematics in creating ‘ecological modernity’ in modern Japan by examining the history of the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo. My work illuminates the ascendance of modern systematics in Japanese academia. Ian J. Miller, The Nature of the Beasts: Empire and Exhibition at the Tokyo Imperial Zoo, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013, pp. 25–60.

12 Fukuzawa Yukichi is, of course, the most influential thinker in Japanese modernization. The phrase was based on Fukuzawa Yukichi's belief in the linear progression of history culminating in the scientific and industrial civilization of Europe. As a self-denial of Japan's Asiatic past, it embraced a serious break from the past and a wholehearted acceptance of European culture. For penetrating analysis on the self-colonizing nature of this Meiji pursuit see Komori Yoichi (小森陽一), Postcolonial: Colonial Sub-consciousness and Colonial Consciousness (포스트콜로니얼: 식민지적 무의식과 식민주의적 의식) (tr. Song Tae-uk), Seoul: Samin, 2002.

13 The founding creed of the first Japanese university says that the university was ‘for the cultivation of arts and sciences in compliance with the needs of the state’, revealing that achieving academic maturity was a national priority. History of Science Society of Japan, op. cit. (10), p. 55.

14 In 1918, the Kyoto Imperial University established a department of botany. Soon others followed. Tohoku Imperial University opened its botanical department in 1921, Kyusu Imperial University in 1923, Taihoku Imperial University in 1928, Tokyo and Hiroshima University in 1929, Hokkaido Imperial University in 1930. History of Science Society of Japan, op. cit. (10), pp. 265–289.

15 One later commentator ruefully noted that in seeking recognition only from Europeans, Japanese botany answered neither to its own scholarly questions nor to the practical domestic needs of the country. History of Science Society of Japan, op. cit. (10), p. 16.

16 On European responses to Japanese victories see Michael Adas, Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989, pp. 357–364.

17 Mark R. Peattie, ‘Introduction’, in Myers and Peattie, op. cit. (6), p. 8.

18 Bernard Semmel's classic Imperialism and Social Reform: English Social-Imperial Thought, 1895–1914, London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1960, discusses the ‘social’ nature of imperialism in Britain. For an excellent rendition of the Japanese build-up of ‘social’ and ‘total’ imperialism, though focused on the years after 1930, see Louise Young, Japan's Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. On the roles of small entrepreneurs see Peter Duus, The Abacus and the Sword: The Japanese Penetration of Korea, 1895–1910, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998; Uchida Jun, Brokers of Empire: Japanese Settler Colonialism in Korea, 1876–1945, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2011.

19 That Yatabe was educated in the US and could teach in English like foreign professors such as Edward S. Morse (1838–1925) was the biggest reason for his employment. Yatabe was an ardent supporter of Fukuzawa Yukichi's call for the ‘Europeanization’ of Japan and proposed replacing Japanese with one of the Western languages. Oba Hideaki (大場秀章), A History of Botanical Research in Japan: 300 Years of Koishikawa Botanical Gardens (日本植物研究の歴史: 小石川植物園三〇〇年の歩み), Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Sogo Kenkyu Hakubutsukan, 1996, pp. 84–89.

20 For more detailed interactions between these botanists and Japanese scholars see Kimura Yojiro (木村陽二郞), ‘Siebold in Japanese Botany’ (日本植物學におけるシーボルトと), in Omori Minoru (大森實) (ed.), Siebold and the Modernization of Japan (シーボルトと日本の近代化), Tokyo: Hosei Daigaku, 1992, pp. 275–286, 281–283; Ueno, op. cit. (10), pp. 81–103.

21 As retold by one of Matsumura's disciples in this popular biography of him, revealing how common and long-lasting this sense of loss was. Nagakubo Hen'un (長久保片雲), The Life of the World-Class Botanist Matsumura Jinzo (世界的植物学者松村任三の生涯), Tokyo: Akatsuki Inshokan, p. 3.

22 Yatabe Ryokichi, ‘A few words of explanation to European botanists’, Botanical Magazine, Tokyo (1890), pp. 355–356, 355. The Botanical Magazine, Tokyo (hereafter BMT) is the journal of the Tokyo Botanical Society founded by Yatabe in 1882.

23 Yatabe, op. cit. (22), 355.

24 Oba, op. cit. (19), pp. 89–97, 93; Matsumura's explorations were recorded by Nakai. Nakai Takenoshin, ‘An outline of Dr. Matsumura Jinzo's achievement’ (理學博士松村任三氏 植物學上ノ事績ノ概略), BMT (1915) 29(346), pp. 342–348.

25 On the development of Japanese imperialism see notes 7 and 18 above.

26 As no serious history of modern Japanese botany yet exists, most detailed information on Nakai's career can be traced from his obituary and the memorial work for his sixtieth birthday. Hiroshi, Hara, ‘Takenoshin NAKAI 1882–1952’, BMT (1953) 66, pp. 14; Committee for Commemoration of Dr Nakai's Works (中井博士功績記念事業会, hereafter Nakai Commemoration), The List of Monographs and Articles by Prof. Nakai and the Index of New Groups, Species and Scientific Names by Him (中井教授著作論文目録 並に 教授の研究発表による 植物新群名, 新植物名 及 新学名總索引), Tokyo: Hokuryukan, 1943. Also see Oba, op. cit. (19), pp. 101–106.

27 Nakai Takenoshin, A Synoptical Sketch of Korean Flora, Tokyo: The National Science Museum, 1952, p. 1.

28 Palibin's Conspectus Florae Koreae (1898–1901) recorded only 103 families, 393 genera, 635 species and twenty variations. Nakai Takenoshin, Flora Koreana, Tokyo: Imperial University of Tokyo, 1909; J. Palibin, Conspectus Florae Koreae, Petropoli, 1901.

29 On the definition of the ‘armchair’ botanist and the ‘voyaging’ one see Schiebinger, op. cit. (3), p. 24.

30 Nakai, op. cit. (27), p. 10, said the following of Matsumura's lack of guidance on taxonomy: ‘Prof. Matsumura must have been very cautious person. He neither taught nor consulted on plant taxonomy with his disciples, though as a pioneer of botany in Japan he was great in his knowledge’. On the difficulties of learning to work with specimens and the methodological difference that the heavy reliance on dried specimens could bring see Ann Secord, ‘Pressed into service: specimens, space, and seeing in botanical practice’, in David N. Livingstone and Charles W.J. Withers (eds.), Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2011, pp. 283–310; Jim Endersby, Imperial Nature: Joseph Hooker and the Practices of Victorian Science, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2008.

31 Changing ideas about scientific description or objectivity created this type of botanical description. Brian W. Ogilvie, The Science of Describing, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2006; Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison, Objectivity, New York: Zone Books, 2007. This predilection towards morphological details also helped botanists exclude local knowledge that had to rely on local expertise. Alix Cooper, Inventing the Indigenous: Local Knowledge and Natural History in Early Modern Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 154–173. That Nakai's knowledge of Western languages other than Latin and English was insufficient could have strengthened his reliance on Latin descriptions as well.

32 Engler told this to Matsumura after his visit to China through the railways installed by Japan. Takenoshin, Nakai, ‘Research on Korean flora’ (朝鮮植物の硏究), Oriental Art and Science Magazine (東洋學藝雜誌) (1927) 43(534), pp. 561571, 561.

33 Adolf Engler and Karl Prantl, Die Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien, Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann, 1900; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Index Kewensis, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1895–1905.

34 Nakai, op. cit. (32), p. 564.

35 This tension between ‘splitters’ and ‘lumpers’ was high, as illustrated in the case of the famous ‘imperial’ lumper Hooker; it was never resolved because no consensus on the concept of species could be made. Endersby, op. cit. (30), pp. 155–169. For a temporarily successful attempt by European botanists to orchestrate nomenclatural stability in the late nineteenth century see Bonneuil, op. cit. (3). For the conceptual debate on species see McOuat, Gordon R., ‘Species, rules and meaning: the politics of language and the ends of definitions in 19th century natural history’, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A (1996) 27(4), pp. 473519; McOuat, , ‘The origins of “natural kinds”: keeping “essentialism” at bay in the age of reform’, Intellectual History Review (2009) 19(2), pp. 211–30.

36 Nakai, op. cit. (32), pp. 565–7; Index Kewensis, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1929–1933.

37 The Annual Report on Reforms and Progress in Chosen (1907–1923). Nakai's reflection on his negotiation with the colonial government is in Nakai, op. cit. (32), p. 562. Nakai expressed his gratitude to the colonial government's support by naming a couple of flowers after the then governor-general. Takenoshin, Nakai, ‘On naming a new genus of Korean native lilies, Derauchia (Preliminary Report)’ (朝鮮産百合科植物ノ一新屬てらうちそう(新稱)ニ就テ (豫報)), BMT (1913) 27(322), pp. 441443.

38 Nakai, op. cit. (32), p. 562.

39 Nakai, op. cit. (32), p. 562. Nakai Takenoshin, Flora Sylvatica Koreana, vol. 21 (Seoul: The Government-General of Korea, 1936), preface.

40 Other than from Nakai's words, we cannot clearly trace the receptions of his work. His correspondent membership of the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle in Paris in 1925 and of the Société botanique de Genève in 1925 all seem to have been made during his stay in Europe. And for his nomination for the International Interim Committee for the modification of the International Rules in 1926, the two Japanese representatives at the congress, K. Shibata from Tokyo Imperial University and T. Koyama from Kyushu Imperial University, must have had some influence. Nakai Commemoration, op. cit. (26). On the 1926 botanical congress see Benjamin Duggar, Proceedings of the International Congress of Plant Sciences, Ithaca, New York, August 16–23, 1926, Menasha, WI: George Banta Pub. Co., 1929, pp. 1777–1782.

41 Nakai was the only non-Westerner in a committee that consisted of twenty-nine members, including four Americans and two Europeans representing Algeria and South Africa. Duggar, op. cit. (40). Japan's scientific achievement was not limited to botany. Japan, through national support and agitation since the mid-nineteenth century, obviously no later than most Western countries, achieved professionalization and institutionalization in most areas of science. Sik, Kim Yung, ‘Problem of early modern Japan in the history of science in East Asia’, Historia Scientiarum (2008) 18, pp. 4957; Hiroshige Tetsu (広重徹), Social History of Science (科學の社會史), Tokyo: Iwanamishoten, 2002; first published 1973.

42 Takenoshin, Nakai, “An observation on Japanese Aconitum-I,” BMT (1908) 22(259), pp. 127133, 127. For more on Hooker's lumper position see Endersby, op. cit. (30).

43 Nakai, op. cit. (42), p. 128; Takenoshin, Nakai, “An observation on Japanese Aconitum-II,” BMT (1908) 22(260), pp. 133140.

44 Nakai Takenoshin, Flora Sylvatica Koreana, vol. 1, Seoul: The Government-General of Korea, 1915. The preface was dated 1913.

45 Nakai claimed many one-species genera as native Korean plants. He claimed 101 new genera before 1943. Nakai Commemoration, op. cit. (26). See also Lee Jung, ‘Contested botanizing in colonial Korea (1910–1945)’ (식민지 조선의 식물 연구(1910–1945)), PhD thesis, Seoul National University, Chapter 3.

46 Duggar, op. cit. (40), p. 1561. They were demanding ownership of their local flora back. On the sense of ownership given in the Linnaean system see the discussion of linguistic imperialism in Schiebinger, op. cit. (3), Chapter 5, ‘Linguistic imperialism’.

47 Duggar, op. cit. (40), pp. 1553–1554.

48 A. Seward, Abstracts of Communications: 5th International Botanical Congress. Cambridge, 16–23 August, 1930, Cambridge: Cambridge University press, 1930, pp. 59–60.

49 Doubts about the mandatory usage of Latin were raised by some new-generation European botanists as well. For more on various proposals on the nomenclatural issue see Perry, op. cit. (5); for the development of the ‘American code’ see Kingsland, op. cit. (4), pp. 40–95.

50 Nakai had to satisfy himself by only sending the report because the Japanese government did not provide funding for travel. He strongly protested. Nakai Takenoshin, Regarding the botanical nomenclature (植物命名規則に 就いて), Tokyo: Iwanamishoten, 1930. Nakai's report was a typed manuscript. The only extant copy is in the New York Botanical Garden.

51 Nakai Takenoshin, ‘Suggestions for an amendment to be made to the rules of botanical nomenclature’, Tokyo, 1926, p. 1.

52 Article 1 of the International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature in 1930 read, ‘Botany cannot make satisfactory progress without a precise system of nomenclature, which is used by the great majority of botanists in all countries’. The rules that it was hoped would be used by many were divided into principles, rules and recommendations, showing its flexible nature. International Botanical Congress, International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature Adopted by the Fifth International Botanical Congress, Cambridge, 1930, London: Taylor and Francis, 1934.

53 Nakai, op. cit. (51), p. 3.

54 Similar concerns for exactness and standardization existed in other sciences, like anthropological biometrics and pedology. For the case of pedology see Bruno Latour, Pandora's Hope, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999, pp. 24–79.

55 Nakai, op. cit. (51), p. 4.

56 On Nakai's extreme splitter taste see Sung, Chang Chin (장진성), ‘A reconsideration of nomenclatural problems on Korean plants and the Korean woody plant list’ (韓國樹木의 目錄과 學名에 대한 再考), Korean Journal of Plant Taxonomy (식물 분류학회지) (1994) 24(2), pp. 95124. For Nakai's disagreement with contemporary Japanese systematists see this defence he made: Takenoshin, Nakai, ‘Reexamination of questioned scientific names of plants’ (問題にされた学名の再検討), Journal of Japanese Botany (植物研究雑誌) (1951) 26(11), pp. 321328.

57 Growing Hispanic concerns about local colour could be one example also. Daniela Bleichmar, Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions & Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2012.

58 Natural history was ‘the field that represented scientific research of Korea, and moreover of Korean people’, in part due to Japanese restrictions to Korean access to other scientific fields and partly due to so-called ‘cultural nationalism’. For the research environment of a few prominent Korean naturalists see Manyong, Moon (문만용), ‘Butterfly-taxonomy of “the Korean biologist”, Seok Joo myung’, Journal of the Korean History of Science Society (한국과학사학회지) (1999) 21, pp. 157193, 158; Sungwon, Kim (김성원), ‘The context of a Korean naturalist's career-building in colonial Korea: Cho Pok Sung as an example of colonial entomologist’ (식민지시기 조선인 박물학자 성장의 맥락: 곤충학자 조복성의 사례), Journal of the Korean History of Science Society (2008) 30, pp. 353382.

59 See Hara, op. cit. (26).

60 For prevalent nationalistic rhetoric in the Japanese modernization of science see Gregory K. Clancey, Earthquake Nation: The Cultural Politics of Japanese Seismicity, 1868–1930, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006; Mizuno Hiromi, Science for the Empire, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009; Kim Boumsoung (金凡性), Meiji and Daisho Seismology: Beyond Local Science (明治·大正の日本の地震学: ローカル·サイエンスを超えて), Tokyo: Tokyo Daigaku Shuppankai, 2007; Takuya, Miyagawa, ‘The meteorological observation system and colonial meteorology in early 20th-century Korea’, Historia Scientiarum (2008) 18, pp. 140150.

61 Quoted from the critique on nationalism by Natsume Soseki, the unique yet representative novelist of modern Japan. Natsume Soseki, My Individualism, etc. (나의 개인주의외) (tr. Kim Jŏnghun), Seoul: Ch'aeksesang, 2004, p. 72. On the build-up of Japanese nationalism see Young, op. cit. (18).

62 Nakai came to Korea not through Pusan, the nearest port city to Japan, but through Wonsan, a northern port, to ‘mimic Kato Kiyomasa’ (加藤淸正, 1562–1611). Nakai, op. cit. (32), p. 562.

63 Nakai Takenoshin, Flora Sylvatica Koreana, vol. 2, Seoul: The Government-General of Korea, 1915. The preface is dated 1914.

64 Takenoshin, Nakai, ‘Aconitum of Yeso, Saghaline and the Kuriles’, BMT (1917) 31(368), pp. 219231, 219; Nakai, op. cit. (32).

65 Nakai, op. cit. (63), preface.

66 Nakai, op. cit. (64), pp. 219, 222.

67 Nakai, op. cit. (32), pp. 569–570.

68 He visited major botanical gardens and herbariums in the US, France, England, Sweden and the Netherlands from 9 May 1923 to 28 September 1925. Nakai Commemoration, op. cit. (26).

69 Japan's attempt to re-evaluate Japanese civilization while emphasizing China's deterioration had begun in the nineteenth century. The rhetoric was especially strong when Japan competed with China over Korea. The earliest usage of To-a was the translation for Ernest Francisco Fenollosa's The Epoch of Chinese and Japanese Art (1911). For the book that gave ‘national pride and understanding for the Japanese arts’ they chose the Japanese title of 東亞美術史綱 (Outline of To-a Art History, 1921). Koyasu Nobukuni (子安宣邦), East Asia · Great East Asia · East Asia: Orientalism in Modern Japan (동아·대동아·동아시아: 근대 일본의 오리엔탈리즘) (tr. Yi Sŭngyŏn), Seoul, Yŏkbi, 2005, p. 151.

70 Nakai's travel was quite limited. During his longest exploration to regions outside Japan, in Europe and America from 1923 to 1925, he hardly left the herbariums of those big centres in Boston, Leiden, Paris and London, as he proudly reported. He worked day and night to see more specimens. Nakai Takenoshin, Flora Sylvatica Koreana, vol. 16, Seoul: The Government-General of Korea, 1927.

71 See Tateiwa Iwao (立岩巖), The Early History of Geological Research in Korea (韓半島 地質學의 初期硏究史) (tr. Yang Sŭngyŏng), Taegu: Kyŏngbuk University Press, 1996, p. 589.

72 Nakai Takenoshin, ‘The vegetation of Dagelet Island: its formation and floral relationship with Korea and Japan’, in Proceedings of the Third Pan-Pacific Science Congress, Tokyo, Oct. 30th–Nov. 11th, 1926, Tokyo, Maruzen, 1928, pp. 911–914, 913.

73 It had no mammals except for rats, no reptiles or amphibians and few insects. Chung mentioned this, quoting Ishidoya, when he criticized Nakai's theory of a Japanese sea continent. Geologists like Terata Torahiko (寺田寅彦, 1878–1935) at the Earthquake Research Institute in the Imperial University and Tateiwa Iwao (1894–1982) at the geological survey team in the colonial government pointed out that it was quite unlikely that such a small land mass (72.99 km2) would be left while the whole of the rest of the continent sank. However, Nakai's advocacy of the ancient Japanese sea continent appealed to some colonial officers to provide him extra funding for another investigation for other islands around Korea. Terata, , ‘On the bathymetric features of Japan Sea’, Bulletin of the Earthquake Research Institute (1934) 12(4), pp. 650655. Takenoshin, Nakai, ‘The comparison of floras of the isolated islands of the east and west part of the Korean peninsula’ (朝鮮半嶋ノ東西ニ孤立スル鬱陵島ト大黑山島トノ植物帶ノ比較), Oriental Art and Science Magazine (1927) 43(4), pp. 214227, 220–221, 214. Ishidoya was in fact the most vocal and articulate critic of Nakai's armchair botanizing. He was influenced by Korean culture in his interaction with his Korean subordinates and by the local soil, and decided to give up his fifteen-year career as a forester. He became a researcher in traditional herbal medicine. For more on his ‘transculturation’ see Lee, op. cit. (45), Chapter 4.

74 For a discussion on such naturalistic biogeography, especially since Humboldt, see Michael Dettelbach, ‘Humboldtian science’, in Jardine, Secord and Spary, op. cit. (3), pp. 287–304; Janet Browne, The Secular Ark: Studies in the History of Biogeography, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983.

75 Notably, it was quite an exaggeration to say that he had constant contact with East Asian flora, given that up to this time he had only made one trip to China, in 1933. Nakai Takenoshin, East Asian Plants (東亞植物), Tokyo: Iwanamishoten, 1935, pp. 2–3.

76 As discussed in the following works, Shapin and Schaffer, op. cit. (2); Latour, We Have Never Been Modern, op. cit. (2).

77 Nakai, op. cit. (75), pp. 3–4.

78 The seven families discussed are Aristolochiaceae, Lardizabalaceae, Berberidacea, Pittosporacece, Malvaceas, Ericaceae, and Urticaceae. Nakai Takenoshin, Flora Sylvatica Koreana, vol. 21, Seoul: The Government-General of Korea, 1936.

79 Nakai Takenoshin, Flora Sylvatica Koreana, vol. 22, Seoul: The Government-General of Korea, 1940.

80 Takenoshin, Nakai, ‘A new classification of the genus Lonicera in the Japanese Empire, together with the diagnoses of new species and new varieties’, Journal of Japanese Botany (1938) 14(6), pp. 359376, 359. That all his new classification was not published in BMT, the official journal of the Japanese botanical society, seems significant.

81 Nakai, op. cit. (80). Currently, only one of his eight sections, Monanthae, has survived as valid in the family. Theis, Nina, Donoghue, Michael J. and Li, Jianhua, ‘Phylogenetics of the Caprifolieae and Lonicera (Dipsacales) based on nuclear and chloroplast DNA sequences’, Systematic Botany (2008) 33, pp. 776783.

82 Takenoshin, Nakai, ‘A new classification of the Sino-Japanese genera and species which belong to the tribe Camellieae (I)’, Journal of Japanese Botany (1940) 16(11), pp. 659667; Nakai, , ‘A new classification of the Sino-Japanese genera and species which belong to the tribe Camellieae(II)’, Journal of Japanese Botany (1940) 16(12), pp. 691708. For his Japanese critics see note 56 above.

83 His control of the Japanese botanical society from the Imperial University was tight and his international authority on Korean flora was secure even though a new postcolonial generation of Korean scholars came to see the problems of the extreme splitter method. Chang, op. cit. (56).

84 See notes 1 and 2 above.

85 See note 2 above.

I am grateful for the helpful comments and kind interest of Hak-moon Byun, Hasok Chang, Pingyi Chu, Christopher Cullen, Sungook Hong, Catherine Jami, Kiyoon Kim, Yung Sik Kim, Tae-ok Kwon, Taehee Lee, Geoffrey Lloyd, Jianjun Mei, Takuya Miyagawa, John Moffett, Manyong Moon, James Secord, Min-u Seo, Michael Shin, Tsukahara Togo and Huiyi Wu, and for the support of the D. Kim Foundation. I also thank two anonymous referees and the editors of the BJHS for their helpful comments. Special thanks go to Helen Curry for her careful comments on the first draft. It is dedicated to my adviser Jongtae Lim for his unsparing criticism and reliable guidance.

For the romanization of Korean, I adopt the McCune–Reischauer system except when authors have romanized names already. Korean and Japanese names are in their original order, with the surname first. All translations are mine.

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