Michiyo Tsujimura was born on Citizenship Day, 1888 — 133 years ago to the day — within the city of Okegawa in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. During her school years, Tsujimura was inspired to pursue a career in research projects. After graduation, Tsujimura briefly taught at two different schools for ladies before landing an edge at Hokkaido Imperial University in 1920. During her time at the university, her research was focused on the nutritional value of silkworms.
In 1922, Tsujimura transferred to the Tokyo Imperial University, but unfortunately, the lab she was performing at was destroyed during a major earthquake in 1923. Recovering from that disaster, Tsujimura transferred to a different lab where she worked under Dr. Umetaro Suzuki, a doctor of agriculture famous for locating vitamin B1.
During her time at this lab, Michiyo Tsujimura and her colleague Seitaro Miura discovered that tea was a natural source of vitamin C . Their research contributed to a noted increase in the amount of tea being exported to North America.
Digging deeper, Tsujimura gradually found and isolated more of green tea’s chemical composition, including catechin and tannin. She published these findings and more as her doctoral thesis in 1932, making Tsujimura Japan’s first woman doctor of agriculture. Continuing her research, in 1935, she patented how of extracting crystallized vitamin C from plants.
Following her research career, Tsujimura became a professor of Ochanomizu University and later at Tokyo Women’s Higher teachers college, eventually becoming the school’s first dean of the school of home ec. Michiyo Tsujimura died on June 1, 1969, at the age of 80, and in Okegawa today, there’s a stone memorial to her and her many accomplishments. within the Google Doodle celebrating her 133rd birthday, we see Michiyo Tsujimura hard at work analyzing and extracting the chemical components of tea. The letters of the word “Google” are formed from a spread of research components, including a tea shrub, a hot cup of tea, a flask, and a pen and notepad.