Chapter 2. Study Abroad in the U.S.
In 1870, Yatabe accompanied Arinori Mori, a diplomat to be stationed in the United States, in his move to the new appointment. Yatabe made the move to America as an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but his true purpose from the outset seems to have been in the pursuit of knowledge. After studying for exams on-site, Yatabe entered Cornell University as its first Japanese student, and completed a four-year course in science.
It was here he took in a wide range of education, from language and history to mathematics and natural science, and of these, his chosen specialty was botany. In addition to classes at the university, it is said that Yatabe also participated in summer school at a marine laboratory, with East Coast seaweed as the theme of his graduate thesis. His schooling and experiences in the United States became the basis for his activities after returning home to Japan.
One of his notebooks with study notes from Cornell University. Yatabe is reported to have been gifted in mathematics.
One of the books he purchased in the United States. This suggests that he studied Western classics as part of his liberal-arts education.
One of his notebooks with study notes from Cornell University. Yatabe’s first brush with botany was in the United States. It is not clear, however, why he chose botany as the focus of his studies.
It is reported that Yatabe also heavily studied the theory of evolution while studying abroad. While this manuscript was likely composed after his return to Japan, it demonstrates Yatabe’s interest in evolution.
At Cornell University’s graduation celebration, known as “Class Day,” Yabate was selected as the “Essayist,” the individual who most excels at writing. This is the manuscript of the essay he published to gain that honor.