Nikola Tesla and Japan
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Lecture held by Masaaki Shindo in Tesla III Millennium, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, October 17, 1996

In Japan, Nikola Tesla was not famous at all even among the science authorities. Recentry, Tesla was more heard about and was compared to Edison and Marconi being himself less famous than they are even nowadays. But it is not true that there was no relationship between Tesla and Japan, even if one say so. Probably Japanese researchers of the history of science had only neglected the unexpectfully close relationship between Tesla and Japan.
The development of Japanese power industry started with the foundation of Tokyo Electric Lamp Company in 1883. In the following several years, the same kind of companies were also founded in Kobe, Kyoto, Osaka and other Japanese centers.
Early system of transmission and distribution in Japan, like in America, was in essence Edison's DC system, but after that, as the demands for electric power increased, the spread of using high tension alternator has begun.
At the same time, Tokyo Electric Lamp Company bought the alternator made in Germany and on the other hand, Osaka company in western part of Japan bought an alternator made by General Electric Company. The alternator license General Electric Company bought from the Westinghouse Company was the one which Tesla himself had sold to the Westinghouse Company. In other words, the alternator Osaka Electric Lamp Company bought, was, in the matter fact, Tesla's own alternator.
By the way, in that moment such a decision was made because Japanese power plant frequency was divided to the West and East of Japan.
Nowerdays, Japanese power plant frequency has been divided to the western one of 60Hz and the eastern one of 50Hz by Fuzigawa river in Shizuoka Prefecture. Because of that, the alternator made in Germany which Tokyo Electric Lamp Company owns has been adopted to 50Hz and in Osaka Electric Comapny the alternator made by General Electric Company has been adopted to 60Hz. Tesla's opinion was that 60Hz alternator was the most efficient one, so he insisted that Westinghouse Company also ought to adopt its alternator to 60Hz.
What happened with the relationship between Tesla and Japan after the completing of AC system and Tesla's fighting for wireless system? In fact the relationship seemed to be the same as before.
Before the War between Japan and Russia, considering the need of millitary ship for wireless, Navy had founded the Wireless Researching Commitee in 1900. Soon after that, in 1902, Professor Shunkichi Kimura from The Naval College went to Europe and America together with one naval officer to investigate the circumstances about the wireless.
Professor Kimura, who had already had some experiences from America, read Tesla's book about the high frequency alternating current, asked him for the explanation about the wireless and visited Tesla's laboratory at Manhattan. Tesla was 45 then and he had already started building of The World Broadcasting Tower at Wardenclyffe in Long Island and made the first step of realizing the "World System".
Tesla performed a fascinating demonstration of giant Tesla coil for the guest from the far away East. Comparing to power transmission without wire, Tesla said sneering that the wireless telegraphy was not at all such a great invention.
Kimura wrote an essay about that event and said this: "After my visiting Tesla's laboratory and seeing the demonstration of his giant Tesla coil, it could be described as a giant snake winding all around. That experience of demonstration made me understand the efficiency of the electrical resonance at once. Sneering at the wireless communication as a great invention, Tesla said that he realized the meaning of the wireless transmission of power and wireless electrical lighting. Maybe that would be realized sometimes in the future, but for the present moment it is not useful for our research".Tesla's opinion about the importance of the wireless the telegraphy is that it might be caused by Marconi's overtaking in the sense of making wireless before Tesla himself.

However that may be, through this reseach trabel, Kimura acquired confidence in himself that their technical attainment of wireless telegraphy was by no means inferior to that of West. So, having come back to Japan, he tried to develop unique Japanese system at his own. The result of this efforts was equipping the patrol ship "Mikasa" with wireless machine before the battle at the Japan Sea when "Mikasa" used it for sending information about the Russian Battle Fleet.
Kimura's successor in relationship with Tesla was a Japanese scientist Hidetsugu Yagi. He was a famous inventor of the television antenna who respected Tesla's work and who presented Tesla's the power transmission without wire at one international scientific society in Japan. He was also known as a pioneer in the field of radio control in Japan, and respected Tesla's efforts also in that regard.
Recently, there was Sakae Yamamura, a pioneer of the linear motor car and authority of superconducting technology who was rewarded by "IEEE" and had received Nikola Tesla award. Then, at some Japanese university the researching of Teala's bladeless turbine started. In 1995, Engagement of Aumshinrikyo Court Religious Sect in researching Tesla's inventions became an actual public topics, but concerning that as an unhappy event, there will be no further comments about that in this work.
Some Japanese writers respected Tesla as well as some scientists did. For example, in a short story written by the great writer of Meiji period Rohan Koda that was titled "Bancha Kaidan", one of the characters, an anchorite, had a very high opinion about Tesla's wireless transmission of power. Another Japanese writer, Juza Unno, who started his career as an electrical engineer and then became the first science fiction writer, was known as the farther of that kind of literature in Japan. He was well informed about Tesla's achievements and wrote about it in his scientific work. It should be point out the farther of the science fiction in America, Hugo Gurnseback, was very devoted to Tesla's ideas.
Concerning described relationship between tesla and Japan, the increasement of its deepness is to be expected.
From the Meiji period there has been an enormous effort in Japan to catch up and overrun the West and as a result of that, as far as the former aim of Japanese economy has finary almost been approached, it is obvious that its development still depends upon technological power of Japan. Especially after The Second World War, electric appliances manufacturing industries have become the basis for economical development of Japan. Tesla's induction motor has been used as basis for some of those appliances, such as washing machine and electric fan, and also his electrical resonannce circuit is the most important part of transistor radio, which was the symbol of Japanese technology. So Tesla's inventions have great importance in economical development in Japan.
Although western technological principles were accepted by Japanese technologists to learn from, and there were a lot of arrangements made in the west, Japanese industry has made only a few itself. Because of that, Japanese technological industry nowadays has serious difficulties to overcome.
The main opinion among the intellectual circles in Japan is that overcoming of the actual difficulties is to be done only by the increase of creation of original technology. How could we do that? The best way could be by learning from Tesla's originality and from his way of living. I think that his originality has to do with his strong personality because of which he had a lot of enemies, but also had the strength to insist at promoting his own ideas, for exsample universal-energy ideas, until he died. Japanese in group-oriented societies could not easily take over Tesla's way of living, but they should have to accept the essence of it.
The means that the relationship between Tesla and Japan is getting deeper and deeper. I am also going to contribute all my effort to it.

Translator: Jelena Markovic
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