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A shoddy way to protect rights of foreign technical trainees

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Transcription was a forte of Kumagusu Minakata (1867-1941), a giant of natural history. As a boy, he checked out from a library 105 volumes of an encyclopedia published during the Edo Period (1603-1867), and copied them.

While living in London during the mid-Meiji Era (1868-1912), he practically commuted daily to the British Museum where he applied himself to transcribing books of ethnography, natural science and other disciplines.

The notes he made during that period, titled "London Nukigaki" (London excerpts), totaled 10,000 pages in 52 volumes. They suggest how he retained the vast cache of knowledge he acquired.

In present-day Japan, transcription turned out........

© The Asahi Shimbun