This special exhibition, “Ichthyology,” displays drawings produced for educational purposes at the University of Tokyo in the late 19th to the early 20th centuries. Intermediatheque has held special exhibits of comparable materials on plants, birds, and the human body, so visitors may be aware that such drawings once constituted an important part of the teaching materials. Originally, it was introduced by hired foreign professors in the Meiji era and quickly became popular as Japanese professors began conducting research.
Kishinouye Kamakichi (1867–1929) was an important figure in establishing Japanese Ichthyology. He built an extensive specimen collection and taxonomic research, focusing on the mackerel family, to define the fish fauna of the Japanese archipelago, veiled at that time. Kishinouye’s collection includes skeletal and taxidermy specimens, and those immersed in liquid; however, this exhibition specifically focuses on drawings.
The exhibit shows what early researchers thought should be recorded as drawings when photographs and videos could not be as easily used as today. The description analysis must make us rediscover the essence of taxonomy. A good example is the drawing of Euthynnus lineatus; the original specimen is missing, but this is considered accurate enough to serve as a substitute.
The aesthetic nature of the scientific drawings is also a highlight. Visitors may find drawings of other animals throughout the Intermediatheque’s permanent exhibition. This exhibition of the early drawings of fish, for the first time, provides an opportunity to compare the academic drawings of different taxons from a century ago.
Organizer: The University Museum, the University of Tokyo (UMUT)
Special Lecture “Kishinouye Kamakichi and Ichthyolog”