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Difference of Climate and Difference of Technology - Comparisons and Failure of Transfers Through Patent Classifications and Beckmann's Works -


Technology of every place has its speciality depending upon the local climate and the speciality determines the condition whether some technology is assimilated or not. Here we compare as the first step the differences of technology and climates with the comparisons of contents of Johann Beckmann's works and International Patent Classification to Japanese ones.

Key Word: Climate, Assimilation of technology, Three-field system, Paddy field, Cyclone

In 1976-82 I was engaged in to translate the works of Johann Beckmann into Japanese. Also I was engaged to switch Japanese Patent Classification to International Patent Classification in Japanese Patent Office. The studies of the IPC began around 1975. There were a lot of differences of types of technology between the two.
During the translation of the Beckmann's work I met similar cases in the book. For instance, in the term of "Artificial Ice" I found a description that a prince of Francois I of France drank a lot of water and a court-lady ordered a Spanish porcelain to cool water. I red similar method in my primary school and tried it. But it failed, as the water was still not cool. We can easily calculate the cooling temperature as a dew point. We obtain:

TOKYO26.77922.8about 4
LISBOA22.26011.6about 11

In this result this method is not available in Japan.
A set of technology is characteristic (indigenous) in every local place. The climatic environment demands to all fields of technology to match with it, materials, energy, products and waste. The correlations among the technology make a system of technology of the land. When we transfer some technology to the land some succeed and some fail. The reason is whether the new technology matches to the characteristic system of the place.
My report presents the comparison of technologies and their systems upon the difference of climates. Every area has its identical set of technologies and a system upon their relations.
The main reasons of their differences are climate, population and market-structure including currency of goods, and law systems. Here I only discuss about the climatic influences. My hypothesis was established with several data, they are:

  1. Comparison of Japanese former Patent Classification and International Patent Classification,
  2. BONSAI: This is my hobby. Many trees died because of unsuitable climates.
  3. Johann Beckmann's Beytraege contains many different phenomena about nature (climate) and technology between Europe and Japan. I represent the translators in Japanese version and have written the footnotes.
  4. Many historical failures were detected in modernization of Japan from the 19th century.

Almost of Japan have a very warm and humid summer and a cold and dry winter. Almost of European countries have warm and dry or cool and wet summer and chilled and humid winter.
In the age of Nara or the 7th to the 8th century, Japan introduced many cultures and civilizations from China mainland. Materials of the mainland China scarcely rot but dry up in summer, as they have a warm summer of small rain and a cold winter without rain or without snow. They use meat and milk very well. A certain milky food was introduced to Japan and made in the 7th to the 9th century. But the food disappeared with time.
From the 12th to 18th century we have little or no records of such failure. Similar failures occurred after the 19th century in modernization.
I will talk the cases afterward.
The reasons why we have no records during the 12th to the 18th century are,

  1. Japan obtained new technology from the southern part of China where they have unendurable warm and humid summer similar to Japan, and
  2. Goods and technologies from Europe and America were transported by ships. They passed warm and humid South-Asian countries such as Jakarta. All rottable materials were decayed during the transportation.
After the Meiji-Restoration Japanese learned new technologies and climate mis-matched cases occurred.

The rice agriculture is very different from wheat agriculture and the differences introduce further differences of the systems of technologies and concepts of technology and economic systems. I point out four basic differences between rice and wheat agriculture.
3A High productivity
Rice plant is far productive than wheat. A grain of wheat glows up to a stem and makes about 20 to 25 grains. The bundle of rice of the picture came from 2 grain-seeds and has 25 stems 244 twigs and 2680 grains, There are not matured crops among them, the productivity is about more than 500 times of the seeds.
3B Paddy field
Wheat and oat are cultivated in dry fields such as slopes of hills. Paddy fields for rice need horizontal surfaces of water. A hill side slope is formed to terraces of small water surfaces.
3C Repeated Cultivation and Dreifelderwirt- schaft
Fertilizer is brought by water in paddy fields. On a field of a hill we must supply fertilizer. If not some methods are necessary to do it. The Dreifelderwirtschaft is important method for a wide field.
3D Existence or not Existence of Live stocks
The result of Dreifelderwirtschaft is rich of milk, meat and leather. In paddy field of rice, no additional cultivation is necessary. The products of Dreifelderwirtschaft are lack from raw materials.

Here I present the difference of technology of Japan and ones of Europe written in Johann Beckmann's (1739-1811) "Beytraege zur Geschichte der Erfindungen". The data are mainly from my footnotes to our translation into Japanese.
The Beytaege was written in the age when no modernized industry or technology influenced the world. We easily compare the natural and social atmosphere of Europe to those of Japan, both traditional industries, the natural materials to be processed and so on. The differences between the two are not limited by the individual industries but the differences of their backgrounds, natural conditions, types of agriculture and the structures of industries.
The "Beytraege" was written during 25 years with 5 volumes, 20 bands, and 153 themes, among them 31 themes were supplements to the former ones.
Our work of translating some of J. Beckmann started in 1976 in order to know the history of technics in Europe. The Patent Office under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) was a very suitable place to gather translators of all sorts of technologys except the medical sciences. We had 45 translators as examiners and trial examiners of patents and industrial design who formed a private study group for the history of technics in the Patent Office.
The book was translated into English and we took the 4th Version (1842) for our work of translation into Japanese adding several themes from German version.
The Japanese version firstly published by DIAMOND Publishing COMPANY in three volumes, and published again from IWANAMI Publishing Company as 4-volumes of Reclam-style.
Here I introduce several items different between Europe and Japan.
4A Items not existing or not developed in Japan
a) Coach, Stirrup, Saddle and Horse-shoe
b) Butter, Mill, Wind-mill
c) Fur-dresses
4B Cooling of water
I spoke this case at the beginning.
4C Hobby of flowers
Beckmann had a precise botanical knowledge as he had a deep courtesy to Linne. He wrote many themes about botanical matters, artichoke, buck-wheat, cork, hop, indigo, pine-apple, rose-mary, saffron, tulip, madder, garden-flowers, kitchen-vegetables and plant-skeleton including propagation by cutting. Ross-kastanien. Almost of the contents are studies about historical identifications of species.
Among them I had a keen interest about the "garden-flowers". He explains as follows:
{In his age many plants were cultivated in Europe, but almost of them had come from other countries. He could not find them in Greek or Roman documents. Greeks and Romans were satisfied with the plants around them. The hobbies of flowers of his time were introduced from abroad, Persia to Constantinople, and entered to Europe in the 16th century.
Many persons went to East and West India and brought the plants of those lands back to Europe and some people began to cultivate them in their garden.}
He wrote the history of Ranunculus asiastica precisely. He also shared a theme for tulip as a plant and as an object of investment.
In my understanding the land of Europe had dried up during the glacial epoch and plants were destroyed. After the cold epoch some plants moved northern lands but the mountains of Alps interrupted the movements. Some useful plants for mankind, wheat and so on, went north but plants of beautiful flowers were not. In Japan many kinds of plants moved to northern areas. Beckmann followed the history after mankind obtained the culture.
I have an interest about the historical difference of displays of flower. In China we see a picture of flower plants in a dish in a tomb of the 2nd century. In Japan a short tale of the 9th century writes about a digging a flower-bush. The plant might be set upon an outdoor table. The habit developed to "Bonsai", dwarf tree in pot, in the 12th century.
The origin of "Ikebana" or flower arrangements was ornaments for Buddhistic ceremonies. Some Buddhistic priests decorated flowers in vases but the spread was 2-century later than Bonsai. The schools of flower arrangement established in the 16th century. As Japan was rich in wild flowers the flower-arrangements obtained some rules without the existence of flowers. There are philosophical rules of arrangements: heaven-earth-human. Sometimes only evergreen leaves or twigs are arranged, not a flower arrangement but a twig arrangement.
In Europe, in my memory, there were no flower-vases in ancient times. We see pictures of flowers in vases imported from China and Japan before the 19th century. A ridiculous style of vases was cultivated in Europe, ie. tulipiers from candelabras in Delft and Meissen. Then the flower design in Europe came after Chinoiserie or Japonisme. The rule of flower design in Europe is: the more of flowers, the more splendid. It means flowers are rare and expensive.
4D Cleaning of street, Lavatory
He discussed about the delay of making lavatories in Europe, especially in France.
In Japan the fermented human-waste is important fertilizer since the 11th century. In 15th century, a wooden tab became popular and the liquid was gathered and transferred from large cities to long-distant agricultural prefectures by ships. Some oldest toilettes upon rivers appear in birth-myth of Japan.

To adopt the International classification (IPC) to Japan I was afraid some Japanese technology might be unclassified, and the distribution of applications upon the IPC might have some irregular biases to the applications in the Patent Offices of Europe.
I took the data of distribution of patent- applications of 1976 upon IPC and checked the sub-groups where too many applications (more than 200) were classified and main-groups where no applications were classified.
After analyzing the data I obtained the following comparisons.
List of IPC sub-classes of which no applicaton and sub-groups applications more than 200 in 1976.
5A Rice in paddy field and wheat, Difference of agricultural machines.
German agriculture stands upon the Drei- felderwirtschaft, plough and supplying of ammonia. The classification of plough is very detailed (A01b). But we had no Japanese applications in those classifications. We had some applications only on the tractors. As the mechanization of agriculture advanced after the World War II in Japan, we had a number of applications to a subclass in A01c11/02 (transplanting of seedlings) for rice seedling in paddy field).
Another clear difference was for unearthening of roots. In Europe they are potatoes, in Japan is very few and for sugar-turnip.
5B Live-stock
Livestocks are not so familiar in Japan and the classification of Japan is very poor. Main animal-industry is for a worm to make silk. It has an independent class in JPC. Contrarily IPC has a large class for livestock and has a classification of slaughter A22 whereas JPC has no large group.
For the class of natural fiber of D01b, it contains cotton but not silk from worms.
5C Making shoes
Japanese applications of the year were 100 in 122C of JPC and their themes were casting plastic shoes of artificial leather. No applications were for real leather one.
5D Structure of buildings
Main materials to build houses are boards of wood in Japan. In Europe main materials are not wood and almost of wood are logs.
This difference brings a difference of doors. A very early edition of IPC determined doors as swingable. It did not contain any slidable doors. I did not prospect this difference. Almost of Japanese doors are slide type which need grooves upon and beneath in which the door slides.
A new version included the door both swing-type and slide-type. To make groove, it is very easy with wood but very difficult with stones or brick.
5E Cyclone -- Wet chemistry and dry chemistry -- Difference of public nuisance
The most important difference between Europe and Japan appeared in classifying Cyclone. Cyclone is a machine to separate aerosol from the carrying air or gas by vortex. A subclass B04c is given to cyclone whereas JPC gives only small number of 72C121.7.
We must also notice that there are classifications with "wet ....." in IPC. According to an index by JPO there are 28 "wet.." terms, but 17 "dry.." terms.
IPC determines "wet" types very frequently. We see "wet" type frequently in development of photography and collecting waste. It means European systems, especially German systems, prefer dry type technology and wet types are rare. The land of Germany is poor in rivers and they can hardly abandon the waste materials into rivers. They abandon waste into soil or vaporize them and outlet into the air. The wet type processes are ridiculous and the special separations of wet type technology in IPC became necessary.
An examiner pointed out this difference of cyclone in both classification means German technology is based upon dry processes. Chemical processes are rather scientific and have less effect from climate, but the matter of waste forced to select dry processes to Germans. This is a typical effect of climate upon the selection of technology.
In a wet process of Japan, waste waters pour to paddy fields and circulate a long path to a sea. The manufacturers thought waste materials were decomposed. For a paddy field is shallow (less than 10 cm), has a very large liquid-air interface and decomposes all waste materials before they reach a sea. A famous de-sulphate system of chimney (1938) washed smokes and wasted water poured into a sea.
Dry-type and wet-type systems have different processes of waste materials and their effects on pollution are also different. Dry types have the results of air-pollution and acid rain. Wet types introduce water-pollution such mercury poisoning of Minamata disease.

6A Japanese houses and rooms, Why they are small ?

It is often said Japanese houses and roos are very small. We can point out two reasons for the small scale of Japanese houses. One is the high prices of land which regulate the largeness of houses. The other is the fficiency of heater in winter. We have a very warm summer similar to a season in Indonesia, and have a very cold winter as Aberden, Scotland. In summer our houses must be cool and wind must go through a room. The house is not air-tight but similar to open-air. In winter we use a charcoal fire in a room. The room is not air-tight and the fire is small, the smaller a room is, the quicker the room becomes warm.
A picture indicates change of the largeness of houses in pre-historical traces. We estimate when the houses were small,the age was colder, when the houses were large, the age was warm.
6B Silk & Wool, Whether jewelry is necessary.
Silk and wool are important materials for clothes. Silk is made by silk-worms which eat a lot of leaves. Silk is a product of large amount of grasses. Wool is made by sheeps. Sheeps move and seek for grasses in a desert or poor-plant areas.
Silks have a large reflectivity of light and we easily find a person wearing on a silk clothes with a candle light. Contrarily wool clothes are not reflective and a person is not clear and needs many reflective spangles. Suchspangles are made of many tips of glasss, mirrors and beads.
When we compare the dresses of Deserts and silk-area, we find a differnces of designs. In silk areas we find beautiful embroideries. In wool areas we find spangles. Designs of embroidery is also utilized to wool dresses but spangle is not used in slk-dresses.
The difference of the materials of dresses brings the differences of designs. In Japan we had scarce the usage of jewelries. I suppose the silk dresses did not need any further glittering materials for its designs.

The difference of technology between Europe and Japan in Beckmann's works and in both patent classifications caused many mis-transfers of technology in modernization in the 19th to the early 20th century.
For instance, many scholars of agriculture stressed the use of ploughs in many occasions, through exhibitions and other times from the 1880's, but their opinions were ignored. A kind of peculiar, short plough was invented in 1909. A method of deep tilling using a large amount of fertilizer was established in combination with small plough and traditional ways, and obtained a high seed/harvest ratio.
For fermentation, European methods were introduced and tested in the late 19th century, but all those tests failed and none of the methods proved adaptable in Japan.
The most outstanding mis-transfer concerned the earthquake-proof structure of buildings. In 1880, an earthquake astonished European scholars in Tokyo and Yokohama, and they became eager to make earth-quake-proof buildings. The then advanced countries in Europe had very few earthquakes. They presented several structures using bricks and so on and applied to real buildings. All of the new structures collapsed when a gigantic earthquake attacked the Nagoya district in 1891, whereas some traditional buildings of wood were not damaged.
Earthquake-proof structures became an important theme for the architectural world after the Kanto Great Earthquake in 1923 when 700,000 people were killed.
The cases in this report show similar effects of the mis-acclimatization of goods.

Here I only discussed about the difference of technology depending only upon the difference of climates. Further we can present a list of mis-transfer because of the mis-understanding the scale and the structure of markets.
The data I mentioned are historical matters. However we had similar cases of technological differences and failures of technological transfers over the world.
Technological transfers of global scale repeated similar serious problems.
Japan is only one country, her climate is very critical as located in the west edge of the ocean, and she has the described history since the 6th century. Her history is rich of succeeded and failed technological transfer since the 6th century. A list of them presents almost patterns of the transfer.
The cases of my speech are only some typical cases.