Papers of Rinzaburo Shida, 1855-1892, alumnus and engineer, University of Glasgow, Scotland and Japan

Scope and Content

  • Manga comic featuring Rinzaburo Shida, c20th-21st century.

Administrative / Biographical History

Rinzaburo Shida (1855-1892) was one of the first four Japanese students to attend the University of Glasgow in 1880. He was part of an academic study abroad programme sponsored by the Japanese Meiji Government as part of their national strategy to import Western applied science and technology. Shida was the first graduate of the Imperial College of Engineering, Tokyo, to be sent to work with Sir William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) on electromagnetism and telegraphy. This educational move was influenced by his former professors William Ayrton and Henry Dyer, both former students of Lord Kelvin.

He matriculated in session 1880-1881, aged 24, giving as his birthplace Nagasaki. He attended classes in Mathematics and in Natural Philosophy (Physics). He excelled as a student, gaining second place in the senior mathematics class, first place in the first year Natural Philosophy class, first place in higher mathematical class, and winning the Cleland Gold medal for the best experimental investigation of magnetic susceptibility.

On his return to Japan in 1883 he was appointed to Professor of Natural Philosophy at the Imperial College of Engineering (the position formerly held by Ayrton), the first Japanese to teach in the telegraphy department. Shida led the development of radio technology in Japan: The first transmission experiments, conducted in 1886, were due to Shida and used the conduction method across the River Sumida in Tokyo by immersing electrodes in the water. Shida founded the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan in 1888, and was given the title of Doctor of Engineering. He died of tuberculosis in 1892 at the relatively young age of 37.


Only one item in this collection.

Conditions Governing Access


Acquisition Information

Deposit : Dr Saeko Yazaki : 1 Sep 2018 : ACCN 4217

Other Finding Aids


Alternative Form Available

Copies likely to be held elsewhere.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Copyright held by Taku-City Coard of Education.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures

Custodial History

Depositor acquired the collection directly from Taku-City Board of Education.


None expected

Related Material

GB 248 R, student records of Rinzaburo Shida, 1880-1881

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives, ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999and National Council on Archives, Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names

Scotland is the location of all place names in the administrative/biographical history element, unless otherwise stated.

Fonds level description compiled by Emma Yan, Assistant Archivist, 9 November 2018.

Geographical Names