World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Kitasato Shibasaburō

Kitasato Shibasaburō
Baron Kitasato Shibasaburō
Born (1853-01-29)January 29, 1853
Oguni, Kumamoto, Japan
Died June 13, 1931(1931-06-13) (aged 78)
Tokyo, Japan
Nationality Japan
Fields bacteriologist
Institutions Tokyo Imperial University
Known for bubonic plague
Influences Robert Koch

Baron Kitasato Shibasaburō (北里 柴三郎, January 29, 1853 – June 13, 1931) was a Japanese physician and bacteriologist during the prewar period. He is remembered as the co-discoverer of the infectious agent of bubonic plague in Hong Kong in 1894, almost simultaneously with Alexandre Yersin.


  • Biography 1
  • See also 2
  • Notes 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Kitasato was born in Okuni village, Higo Province, (present-day Oguni Town, Kumamoto Prefecture, Kyūshū). He was educated at Kumamoto Medical School and Tokyo Imperial University.

He studied under Dr. Robert Koch in the University of Berlin from 1885 to 1891. In 1889, he was the first person to grow the tetanus bacillus in pure culture, and in 1890 cooperated with Emil von Behring in developing a serum therapy for tetanus using this pure culture. He also worked on antitoxins for diphtheria and anthrax. Kitasato and Behring demonstrated the value of antitoxin in preventing disease by producing a passive immunity to tetanus in an animal that received graded injections of blood serum from another animal infected with the disease.

After returning to Japan in 1891 he founded the Institute for Study of Infectious Diseases with the assistance of Fukuzawa Yukichi. One of his early assistants was August von Wassermann. Kitasato demonstrated how dead cultures can be used in vaccination. He also studied the mode of infection in tuberculosis.

He traveled to [6]

Four years later, Kitasato and his student dysentery.

When the Institute for Infectious Diseases was incorporated into Tokyo Imperial University in 1914, he resigned in protest and founded the Kitasato Institute (the forerunner of Kitasato University), which he headed for the rest of his life.

In September 1921 Kitasato founded, together with several medical scientists, the Sekisen Ken-onki Corporation with the intention of manufacturing the most reliable clinical thermometer possible. The company was later renamed Terumo Corporation.

Kitasato also was the first dean of Medicine at Keio University, first president of the Japan Medical Association, and served on the House of Peers. He was ennobled with the title of danshaku (baron) in the kazoku peerage system in February 1924.

Kitasato died of an Intracranial hemorrhage at his home in Azabu, Tokyo on June 13, 1931. His grave is at the Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo.

See also


  1. ^ Howard-Jones, Norman (1973). "Was Shibasaburo Kitasato the Co-Discoverer of the Plague Bacilllus?". Perspectives in Biology and Medicine (Winter): 292–307. 
  2. ^ Solomon, Tom (July 5, 1997). "Hong Kong, 1894: the role of James A Lowson in the controversial discovery of the plague bacillus.". Lancet 350 (9070): 59–62.  
  3. ^ Nakase, Yasukiyo (1995). "Kitasato Shibasaburo ni yoru Pesuto-kin hakken to sono shuhen". Nihon Sakingaku Zasshi (50): 637–650. 
  4. ^ Butler, Thomas (1983). Plague and Other Yersinia Infections. New York: Springer. p. 23.  
  5. ^ Cunningham, Andrew (1992). The Laboratory Revolution in Medicine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 209-244.  
  6. ^ Bibel, DJ; Chen, TH (September 1976). "Diagnosis of plaque: an analysis of the Yersin-Kitasato controversy.". Bacteriological Reviews 40 (3): 633–651, quote p. 646.  


  • Sri Kantha, S. A Centennial review; the 1890 Tetanus antitoxin paper of von Behring and Kitasato and the related developments. Keio Journal of Medicine, March 1991, 40(1): 35-39.
  • Sri Kantha, S. The legacy of von Behring and Kitasato. Immunology Today, Sept.1992, 13(9): 374.
  • Kyle, Robert A. Shibasaburo Kitasato-Japanese bacteriologist. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 1999
  • Orent, Wendy. Plague: The Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World's Most Dangerous Disease. Free Press 2004, ISBN 0-7432-3685-8
  • Porter, Roy. Blood and Guts: A Short History of Medicine. W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (June 2004). ISBN 0-393-32569-5

External links

  • Kitasato University homepage
  • Portraits of Modern Japanese Historical Figures
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.