Milestone-Proposal talk:Gennai Hiraga’s Erekiteru: First Electrostatic Generator in Japan, 1776

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-- Administrator4 (talk) 12:11, 29 April 2024 (UTC)

Advocates’ Checklist

  1. Is proposal for an achievement rather than for a person? If the citation includes a person's name, have the proposers provided the required justification for inclusion of the person's name?
  2. Was proposed achievement a significant advance rather than an incremental improvement to an existing technology?
  3. Were there prior or contemporary achievements of a similar nature?
  4. Has the achievement truly led to a functioning, useful, or marketable technology?
  5. Is proposal adequately supported by significant references (minimum of five) such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or citations to pages in scholarly books? At least one of the references from a peer-reviewed scholarly book or journal article. The full text of the material, not just the references, shall be present. If the supporting texts are copyright-encumbered and cannot be posted on the ETHW for intellectual property reasons, the proposers shall email a copy to the History Center so that it can be forwarded to the advocate. If the advocate does not consider the supporting references sufficient, the advocate may ask the proposer(s) for additional ones.
  6. Are the scholarly references sufficiently recent?
  7. Is proposed citation readable and understandable by the general public?
  8. Does the proposed plaque site fulfill the requirements? Is the site publicly accessible? Is the given address complete? Are the GPS coordinates correct and in decimal format?
  9. Is the proposal quality comparable to that of IEEE publications?
  10. Scientific and technical units correct? (e.g. km, mm, hertz, etc.) Are acronyms correct and properly upperercased or lowercased?
  11. Date formats correct as specified in Section 6 of Milestones Program Guidelines? https://ieeemilestones.ethw.org/Helpful_Hints_on_Citations,_Plaque_Locations

Reviewers’ Checklist

  1. Is suggested wording of the Plaque Citation accurate?
  2. Is evidence presented in the proposal of sufficient substance and accuracy to support the Plaque Citation?
  3. Does proposed milestone represent a significant technical achievement?
  4. Were there similar or competing achievements? If so, have the proposers adequately described these and their relationship to the achievement being proposed?

In answering the questions above, the History Committee asks that reviewers apply a similar level of rigor to that used to peer-review an article, or evaluate a research proposal. Some elaboration is desirable. Of course the Committee would welcome any additional observations that you may have regarding this proposal.

Submission and Approval Log

Submitted date: 3 June 2024
History Committee approval date:
Board of Directors approval date:

Original Citation Title and Text when submitted -- Administrator4 (talk) 19:44, 3 June 2024 (UTC)

Gennai Hiraga's Elekiteru: First Electrostatic Generator in Japan, 1776

In 1770, Gennai Hiraga obtained a broken imported electrostatic generator in Nagasaki. By1776, he had spent six years repairing and restoring the first friction-induced electrostatic generator in Japan. He used it as a reference to build some dozen Elekiteru devices. Two of them still exist today at the Postal Museum in Tokyo and the Gennai Hiraga Memorial Museum in Kagawa Prefecture.

Comment to Proposers -- Tomohiro Hase (talk) 05:55, 5 June 2024 (UTC)

Dear Proposers.

I became the Advocate of your Milestone proposal #2024-16 approved by the IEEE History Committee.

I've asked Expert Reviewers to review for your proposal.

Best regards, Advocate, Milestone #2024-16

From the proposers: latest edit for corrections, additions of figures, etc. -- Zephyrus00jp (talk) 18:07, 5 June 2024 (UTC)

Hi,

I am one of the proposers.

Since the version which I re-submitted, I have corrected spelling mistakes and dubious English grammar usage. Also, I changed some expressions to make the meaning clearer or focused.

Major changes since the submission is as follows.

  • Title of the proposed milestone;

"Gennai Hiraga's" is removed from the title. This has already been suggested and I change this accordingly. (I kept the original title since the letters from the local IEEE chapter and the site owner both referred to the "Gennai Hiraga's Elekiteru: First Electrostatic Generator in Japan, 1776". Now that the application has been received, there should not be any confusion between the different title in the letters and in the web application document, so I changed it.

  • Plaque citation:

Originally it referred to the number of elekiteru devices created by Gennai Hiraga as "some dozen". But I changed it to "several".

Why?: There is a Japanese reference published in 1930s that refers to a 250 years old Dutch book that claimed that the author learned Gennai Hiraga created about a dozen Elekiteru devices. But the proposers could not verify it since the access to the old Japanese and the Dutch books are very difficult. Some Japanese contacts were not able to back the claim, neither. So "several" is more like it.

  • Some missing image files, that were omitted due to oversight, were added in the Appendices and a few sentences are added accordingly.

Thank you in advance for people's attention.

Chiaki Ishikawa
One of the proposers

Re: From the proposers: latest edit for corrections, additions of figures, etc. -- Zephyrus00jp (talk) 18:22, 5 June 2024 (UTC)

Hi,
I only updated the Bibliography section and forgot to update the other parts.
In the historical significant section, I added the following description for the elekiteru device that still exists in the Gennai Hiraga Memorial Museum,
* It uses three wooden gears to make the cylindrical pillow and the glass bottle rotate against each other on the contact surface, and the sum of the rotational speeds of these cylindrical surfaces causes friction [9].
Also, in one place, I changed the expression "he purchased" to "he obtained" because the manner how Gennai Hiraga obtained the broken Elekiteru is not quite clear after two and half centuries. He may not have purchased at a curiosity shop in Nagasaki, but may have obtained it thanks to a translator for the Dutch. Whether money exchanged hands is not known today.
Chiaki Ishikawa

A correction of reference entry: Two different references were incorrectly copied in a mixed manner -- Zephyrus00jp (talk) 21:15, 7 June 2024 (UTC)

Dear reviewers and advocate,

There was a mistake when I inserted the references into the bibliography. The reference [8] by Naoki Iwamoto had an incorrect Japanese title, and the abstract there was from still another unrelated article. The translation in Appendix VI of this reference [8] is a correct one, though. The English title was also correct.

The accompanying incorrect Japanese title was actually from a different article, which should have been added separately.

So it is now added as Reference [18]. Reference [18] is an article in which the author in the 21st century created an Elekiteru device using technologies available in the time of Gennai Hiraga (1770s). Based on the characteristics of the device thus created, the author estimates the electric characteristics of the Elekiteru device kept at Gennai Hiraga Memorial Museum. The translation of the 1st and 2nd chapter of this article is given in Appendix X.

(The working replica of Gennai's elekiteru device kept at the Postal Museum has been created and discussed in [8] by different authors as noted already in the application.)

I realized the incorrect listing when I was producing the Japanese translation as requested after my initial submission. But somehow, my initial correction was not quite through. I think there was another copy and paste mistake which compound the issue. I am sorry about this. I created the original draft in a word processor file, and then copied it into a plain text editor, and THEN added wiki markups. I had to repeat this process in somewhat random manner when I added the Japanese translation of various references and added more photos of the original book pages accordingly. I found that this process is very error-prone. I wonder if there is a better way.

I believe I have straightened out the reference listings now. The original photocopy of the new reference [18] is sent to the history committee.

Sincerely,
Chiaki Ishikawa

Expert Reviewer's Report_1_Roberts uploaded by Advocate -- Tomohiro Hase (talk) 13:37, 17 June 2024 (UTC)

Dear Dr. Tomohiro Hase

Attached please find my review of the proposal you forwarded to me. As I note in the review, I support acceptance of the proposal, following slight revision.

Sincerely,

Lissa L. Roberts | Emeritus Professor University of Twente Editor-in-Chief, History of Science Co-editor, Science in History

(Expert Review report)------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Review of Proposal: Gennai Hiraga – Erekiteru: First Electrostatic Generator in Japan, 1776

I heartily support this proposal and commend the proposers for the extensive research they have done in preparing it.

Before turning to the question of how they present their evidence, I would like to reply briefly to the fourth question posed to me: Does the proposed milestone represent a significant technical achievement? In response, I would like to stress the importance of not isolating the technical aspects of historical developments from their social and cultural character. For comparison sake, it might be of interest to recognize that the various patent systems that were developing in Europe during the 18th century, all shared the fact that they considered the term ‘invention’ in a broader sense than we do today. It was not necessary to have been the very first to design and/or construct something in order to be recognized as its inventor. Much more important was the purpose it was intended to serve and how it might benefit society and/or the government’s purse. With this as a background, combined with the particular history of Japan’s relationship with the rest of the world at this time, it is perfectly justified to recognize Hiraga Gennai as the inventor of his Erekiteru.

Also, a brief answer to question five: Were there similar or competing achievements? As the proposers mention (though this is buried in their notes), Hiraga Gennai felt constrained to take one of disciples to court for making his own machines and falsely advertising himself as their inventor. This would have been a difficult step to take, given how it would reflect on Hiraga Gennai’s character – coloring him as commercially interested in a society that looked down on commerce as culturally/morally tainted.

Now, regarding question two: Is the evidence presented in the proposal of sufficient substance and accuracy to support the Citation? The proposers have done a good job of researching the history of Hiraga Gennai and his erekiteru. My sense, however, is that their case could be strengthened by revising their proposal – especially as regards available information surrounding static electricity, its generation, and use at the time Hiraga Gennai became involved. While it is true that the policy of Sakoku (seclusion) severely limited Japanese contact with the rest of the world, I think that the trade in books, ideas, etc. was a bit greater than what is implied in the proposal. This thanks to books, etc. that entered through Chinese as well as Dutch channels and through personal contacts with VOC personnel, and both with and through the translators corps that served as go-betweens in Nagasaki. The intelligencing networks related to the wide-ranging scale of honzogaku (perhaps best translated as ‘natural history’, but also linked to medicine and the commercialization of natural specimens) practices, as well as public hunger in Edo (Tokyo) for information about the West, also served as conduits for information about foreigners and their world seeping into Japan. (See eg Timon Screech, The Lens within the Heart (1996).) Related to this, I found it strange that the proposers mentioned Benjamin Franklin’s experiments with static electricity twice in their proposers. This seems irrelevant to me. It would make more sense to refer to the extensive experimental work done in the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands being a center for the construction of static electric generators – certainly since the time of Pieter van Musschenbroek. The work of the abbé Nollet in France and internationally would also be more appropriate to mention than Franklin. As the proposers note themselves in their notes and explanations, news of work being done in the Netherlands had actually reached Japan before Hiraga Gennai innovatively repaired / ‘invented’ his erekiteru. The book in question is Oranda banashi (1765). If a discussion of this work and others that subsequently mention static electricity were integrated into the key proposal text, rather than in the secetions with notes and explanations, the proposal would be more clear regarding the extent to which Hiraga Gennai based his ‘invention’ on what he read, what he learned from discussions – especially in Nagasaki – and what was the result of his own ‘trial and error’.

In sum, my suggestion is that the proposers draw on the information that is already present in their proposal draft, but revise it such that the important details of historical development actually appear in sections 4-6, rather than being somewhat buried later in the proposal. I believe that this would strengthen their proposal, increase its historical accuracy, and make their proposal fully convincing.

Prof. dr. Lissa Roberts, Emeritus Professor of History of Science and Technology University of Twente The Netherlands Editor-in-Chief, History of Science

Re: Expert Reviewer's Report_1_Roberts uploaded by Advocate -- Zephyrus00jp (talk) 02:03, 28 June 2024 (UTC)

Thank you for the detailed review. Per the comment, we have added the paragraphs on the extensive experimental work done in the Netherlands in Historical section. I hope this has clarified the historical perspective of Gennai's work.
Chiaki Ishikawa, one of the proposers

Expert Reviewer's Report_2_Nishimura uploaded by Advocate -- Tomohiro Hase (talk) 01:56, 18 June 2024 (UTC)

Dear Dr. Tomohiro Hase

I will send you a Review Report for IEEE Milestone #2024-16 at your request. My answer to your question is as follows.

(1) Is the suggested wording of the Plaque Citation accurate?

Yes. The suggested wording of the Plaque Citation is accurate.

(2) Is the evidence presented in the proposal of sufficient substance and accuracy to support the Citation?

Yes. I, a reviewer, read the proposal and check the contents of the references described in it.

(3) There is a personal name in Citation, Gennai Hiraga. Proposer describes Elekiteru in his own achievements in the name-in-citation section. Do you agree with this claim?

I strongly agree. From some references, it is obvious that Gennai construct Erekiteru without other’s help. At that time, it was not known in Japan that what is “electrostatics” all about. Of course, Gennai did not know about the principle of Erekiteru and electrostatics, that is, electrostatics is generated by friction. It has been said that Gennai succeeded in generating electricity by using Erekiteru after much effort and trial and error.

(4) Does the proposed milestone represent a significant technical achievement?

It is very rare that a generator form 250 years ago still exists. Sometimes Erekiteru is introduced on Japan’s TV educational programs as Japan’s first generator. Some elementary school students build Erekiteru with plastic materials such as combination of plastic cap and nylon stockings as their free research in vacation. This means that Erekiteru arouses people's interest in electricity and contributes to electrical education nowadays as well as a technological heritage.

(5) Were there similar or competing achievements? If so, have the proposers adequately described these and their relationship to the achievement being proposed?

There is no similar or competing achievements in Japan. Business using Erekiteru, electric machine, was Gennai’s monopoly.

From above considerations, I, a reviewer, strongly recommend that Erekiteru is worthy of electrical engineering heritage.

Best regards, Ryo Nishimura, Ph. D. Associate Professor, Tottori University.

Proposer comment: Citation modified to make it clear that Gennai Hiraga produced the first Elekiteru device in 1776. -- Zephyrus00jp (talk) 21:26, 24 June 2024 (UTC)

By way of the advocate, I was advised that the citation should be clarified to state the Gennai Hiraga produced the first working Elekiteru device in Japan in 1776 by Brian Berg. Yes, we realized that it only mentioned that Gennai Hiraga spent 6 years before producing it. So we modified the citation in the application page. we appreciate the comment from Brian Berg.

Now, we are planning to add a couple of paragraphs to explain the development of scientific discovery concerning electricity in the 1770s in Europe, especially the development of Leyden Jar to put the work of Gennai Hiraga in the context of global scientific quest in that time. This is based on the comment of Prof. Dr. Lissa Roberts. we would like to thank her for valuable comment.

Also, we are planning to modify the phrase ”friction-based" in the main application text into "friction-induced" as in the citation in one sweep.

But the last two changes have to wait for a few days more. I have had a very bad bout of summer cold since last week and still on medication. I am sorry that I could not modify the application promptly for the last several days.

Thank you in advance for your attention.


Chiaki Ishikawa
One of the proposers

Proposer comment: Citation, Abstract, Historical significance section modified, and a few other changes. -- Zephyrus00jp (talk) 04:27, 27 June 2024 (UTC)

This is one of the proposers.

By way of the advocate, we learned that the significance of Gennai Hiraga's impact on the later research of electricity was not properly stressed.

Upon re-reading the application, we have realized that, since the significance was so clear and self-apparent to Japanese electrical engineers or scientists, we failed to stress its importance properly to non-Japanese audience. So we have modified the citation and abstract to stress the point. Also, there *was* a paragraph regarding the importance of elekiteru device on the following research in the explanation of the illustration 3 of the elekiteru used as a store promotion. The illustration and the explanation were moved to the end of the historical section to bring the topic of the impact on the later generation in earlier section of the application document.

> Now, we are planning to add a couple of paragraphs to explain the development of scientific discovery concerning electricity in the 1770s in Europe, especially the development of Leyden Jar to put the work of Gennai Hiraga in the context of global scientific quest in that time. This is based on the comment of Prof. Dr. Lissa Roberts. we would like to thank her for valuable comment.

We inserted the paragraphs to explain the electricity research, especially the development of Leyden jar in the Historical significance section to put the work of Gennai in the context of the global research of electricity of his time.

> Also, we are planning to modify the phrase ”friction-based" in the main application text into "friction-induced" as in the citation in one sweep.

It has been done.

We also changed the singular "proposer" into plural "proposers" mechanically. This may need a minor editorial work subsequently.

Also, we have added the banning of the reference [1] after its publication in its note. The reason of the banning explains the rationale for closed country policy rather well. So I think it was worthwhile to mention this. Since this banning of the book does not seem to be widely known, I think it is important to bring this topic to the front.

Chiaki Ishikawa, one of the proposers

Proposer comment: How to view the changes between different revisions -- Zephyrus00jp (talk) 02:48, 28 June 2024 (UTC)

Hi

I have been editing the application document based on the input from the advocate and the reviewers.

A question I have received is how to compare the different revisions to see where and how we changed the document.

So I created a short summary of how to find out the differences of revisions.

Here it is. I will post a version with screen captures.

How to view the changes
A short memo by Chiaki Ishikawa

It may be hard to figure out where the proposers changed the documents during the review process. IEEE Milestone Wiki has a handy feature to show the changes of arbitrary versions. Since the Milestone Wiki uses the mediawiki software, the general feature is explained in https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:History BUT, it is not entirely clear how to use it for a novice user like me. I shall explain how to use the feature to compare revisions if you are not familiar with it in IEEE Milestone Wiki already.

Preliminary step.

Depending on the screen width of the device which you use to access the application URL, the tool bar may not be visible fully. In that case , you have to click the so called hamburger menu that look like the following to expand the menus
(Hamburger menu looks like stacked three short horizontal bars)
Click the above in the window frame to obtain the tool menu items as follows.
If you are using a PC browser with enough screen width, the menu items may be visible from the start. This is my case.
Now concrete steps to view the changes between the versions posted to the IEEE Milestone wiki are as follows.

1. Choose the additional edit menu item. That is next to the Edit menu, the pencil and the paper menu item.

2. Choose View History from the extra menu shown.

3. Choose the versions you want to compare in the shown lists.
In the following example (which I will post as screenshot), I have selected the latest one and the version on June 4 by clicking the versions. A small circular button changes its color when the version is selected.

4. Then hit the “Compare the selected revisions” button.

5. Then, the comparison is shown in two columns.

That's it.


[end of memo]

Re: Proposer comment: How to view the changes between different revisions -- Zephyrus00jp (talk) 02:53, 28 June 2024 (UTC)

Here is the PDF of the above steps with screendumps.

File:How-to-view-changes.pdf

Chiaki Ishikawa, one of the proposers

Expert Reviewer's Report_3_Hojo uploaded by Advocate -- Tomohiro Hase (talk) 14:30, 30 June 2024 (UTC)

Dear Dr. Tomohiro Hase, IEEE Fellow

Please find the following my answers.

1) Is the suggested wording of the Plaque Citation accurate?

Yes, the Plaque Citation describes the achievement and its significance, correctly.

2) Is the evidence presented in the proposal of sufficient substance and accuracy to support the Citation?

Yes, the proposal is appropriately supported by the references.

3) There is a personal name in Citation, Gennai Hiraga. Proposer describes Elekiteru in his own achievements in the name-in-citation section. Do you agree with this claim?

Yes, Elekiteru is widely recognized as his own achievement with the evidences introduced by the proposer.

4) Does the proposed milestone represent a significant technical achievement?

Yes, as stated in the references, Elekiteru is the first achievement by Gennai Hiraga with his outstanding creativity during the period of national isolation of Japan.

5) Were there similar or competing achievements? If so, have the proposers adequately described these and their relationship to the achievement being proposed?

No, there were not. Elekiteru is his original contribution during the period of national isolation of Japan.

According to the above answers, Gennai Hiraga's Elekiteru surely has a historical value as the first electric generator in Japan. Therefore, I recommend it to be an IEEE milestone.


Masahide HOJO

Professor, Tokushima University

Expert Reviewer's Report_4_Shimomura uploaded by Advocate -- Tomohiro Hase (talk) 00:47, 1 July 2024 (UTC)

Dear Dr. Tomohiro Hase,

I'm replying the review for proposal, as follows;


1) Is the suggested wording of the Plaque Citation accurate?

Yes, there is no doubt that the wording of the Plaque Citation is accurate.

2) Is the evidence presented in the proposal of sufficient substance and accuracy to support the Citation?

Yes, Book introducing Holland [1], Popular literature “Heppiri-ron” [2], Written Complaint regarding Elekiteru [3], and Guide to Dutch studies [4] are sufficient and accurate as evidences.

3) There is a personal name in Citation, Gennai Hiraga. Proposer describes Elekiteru in his own achievements in the name-in-citation section. Do you agree with this claim?

Yes, his complaint: Written Complaint regarding Elekiteru [3] and the circumstances as determined from other documents leave no room for doubt that Elekiteru was his own achievement.

4) Does the proposed milestone represent a significant technical achievement?

Yes, it does. The Elekiteru is a technical and academic development of static electricity, leading to dynamic electricity. It was a highly challenging technological development on high-humidity environment in Japan, with very little relevant information during the period of virtual national isolation of Japan. It is easy to understand why it took seven years. The idea of insulation was essential and highly praised. The (pain) resin-filled container can be considered the prototype of Japan's first insulator set for electrical equipment.

5) Were there similar or competing achievements? If so, have the proposers adequately described these and their relationship to the achievement being proposed?

No, they weren’t. The proposal indicates that inferior imitations were produced and Gennai filed a complaint [3].

Finally, the fact that Gennai Hiraga's Elekiteru still exists is a rare and valuable. They are a meaningful historical asset in Japan, so I highly recommend it as an IEEE Milestone.


Naoyuki SHIMOMURA, Dr.Eng

Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Graduate School of Technology, Industrial and Social Sciences, Tokushima University

From the proposer: Citation reworded again. -- Zephyrus00jp (talk) 23:22, 1 July 2024 (UTC)

Dear reviewers and advocate,

After hearing that the "Spending six years reparing and restoring ..." repeats "-ing" form of verbs three times and may be better worded from a reviewer by way of the advocate, we decided to take a look at the citation again.

First the repetition of "-ing" forms is now eliminated.

We made further changes.

The year 1770 when Gennai Hirga obtained the broken device is NOT that important itself. Saying he spent six years before he came up with the first working friction-induced electrostatic generator in 1776 implicitly tells when he obtained it Nagasaki. So the first sentence was reworded to stress the year 1776 when Gennai Hiraga reconstructed the electrostatic generator for the first time in Japan. Also, the next sentence was clarified to state that Gennai Hiraga improved the design. Then the following sentence was slightly modified to make it clear that the next generation of researchers of electricity (and electromagnetism in the 19th century Japan) was inspired by the demonstration of Elekiteru devices made by Gennai.

I hope the newer version conveys better than the previous version, the accomplishment of Gennai Hiraga who made the first friction-induced electrostatic generator in Japan, and his influence over the course of study of electricity and electromagnetism in Japan in the years after his death.

Thank you in advance for your attention.

Chiaki Ishikawa, one of the proposers

Proposers note: An editorial mistake is corrected and other minor modifications. -- Zephyrus00jp (talk) 09:32, 3 July 2024 (UTC)

Hi,

Yesterday, we made the mistake of overwriting the Obstacles to Overcome section with the content of Bibliography section when we updated the application document. We corrected this mistake and also modified the application somewhat.

I use this occasion to explain other minor fixes in more details.

As always, misspellings were fixed.

- We have changed the word "translator" to "proposers" since the English translation of the Japanese reference was done by the proposers (unless otherwise noted) and we are to blame for the translation issues.

- Looking back at Prof. Dr. Lissa Roberts comment, we have added the year each reference was published/written to give better historical sense in the main text section as appropriate. (However, We held back the moving of the English translation of some materials into the historical significance section since such paragraphs would clutter up the main section without improving the historical perspective much.

Still , interested readers are advised to read, say, "Appendix I: Translation of the relevant part of reference [1]." This is because it was published in 1765 and we can learn the general knowledge of electricity or the lack thereof in Gennai's time from reading it rather well. So the following sentence was added in a place where [1] was mentioned.

(The translation of the excerpt of the relevant part of the reference [1] is in Appendix I. From it, we can learn the general knowledge of electricity or the lack thereof in Gennai's time rather well.)

- Changed the reference to Leyden bottle to Leyden jar.

The following was explained briefly yesterday already.

In the bibliography section: - Reference section: For [3]: we clarified the meaning of "seven" years Gennai Hiraga used to describe his work to restore and repair the broken device is more like six years.

- Slight addition to the English translation of the legal complaint which Gennai Hiraga filed.

- For [9]: In Appendix VI: English translation of the relevant parts of [9], a note was added to explain that there is a description in an 80 years old Japanese book about a then 150 years old Dutch report which was said to have written that that Gennai Hiraga created 15 Elekiteru devices of his own design. But the proposers could not figure out what the original Dutch report is and thus cannot verify the claim. (We finally obtained the 80 years old book in the used book market, but was disappointed to find that the original Dutch title was not mentioned and thus it is almost impossible for us to start locating it. It is probably a trade document or diplomatic document, but who knows?)

The number of elekiteru devices Gennai Hiraga created must have been quite large, but no reliable tally exists (or no one has come up with an agreeable estimate yet. That is why we could not list a specific number to our disappointment). Still the impact of his many elekiteru devices has been clear by the imitations and the research activities that followed up on his elekiteru devices (see [8] for example).

Thank you again for your reviews and guidance.

Chiaki Ishikawa, one of the proposers

Expert Reviewer's Report_5_Wemura uploaded by Advocate -- Tomohiro Hase (talk) 07:26, 11 July 2024 (UTC)

Dear Prof. Tomohiro Hase.

I'm replying the review report for the proposal, as follows.

1) Is the suggested wording of the Plaque Citation accurate?

Yes. I think so. Because some books cited by this Plaque Citation are very old, it is difficult for me to decide some information seems be correct or not. However, overall of this Plaque Citation is correct.

2) Is the evidence presented in the proposal of sufficient substance and accuracy to support the Citation?

Yes. The evidence presented in the proposal appears to be substantial and accurate, supporting the claim that Gennai Hiraga's "Erekiteru" was a pioneering electrostatic generator in Japan around 1776. The historical significance of Gennai Hiraga and his work with the "Erekiteru" is well-documented, lending credibility to the proposed citation.

3) There is a personal name in Citation, Gennai Hiraga. Proposer describes Elekiteru in his own achievements in the name-in-citation section. Do you agree with this claim?

Yes. As is clear from the reference presented in the proposal[3], Elekitel was the work of Gennai Hiraga alone.

4) Does the proposed milestone represent a significant technical achievement?

Yes. This is the first electronic machine made in Japan. So I believe this is the one of the most important parts of Japanese electronic technologies. The proposed milestone for Gennai Hiraga’s "Erekiteru" represents a significant technical achievement. It marks the introduction of important scientific technology to Japan, contributes to the historical understanding of early electrical experiments, and highlights the contributions of a key figure in Japanese science and education.

5) Were there similar or competing achievements? If so, have the proposers adequately described these and their relationship to the achievement being proposed?

The proposed milestone for Gennai Hiraga’s "Erekiteru" represents a significant technical achievement. It marks the introduction of important scientific technology to Japan, contributes to the historical understanding of early electrical experiments, and highlights the contributions of a key figure in Japanese science and education.

In conclusion, I strongly recommend the proposal of the Elekitel by Hiraga Gennai to an IEEE Milestone.

Wataru Uemura.

Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Technology, Ryukoku University.

From the proposer: -- Zephyrus00jp (talk) 23:16, 11 July 2024 (UTC)

Hi,

We made the following modifications.

Mentioned Leyden is spelled Leiden in Dutch.

The news that appeared in 1765 is about Elekiteru-like device, DEVELOPED IN EUROPE, was clarified. (Not Gennai's.)

We did not want to clutter up the main application section from the quotes from 18th century literature, but the quote from Gennai Hiraga's book [2] about a man, who seems to be the Gennai himself, is a good material to explain his thought about electricity and so was COPIED to the main text. (Footnotes are still explained in Appendix II.) Actually, this is the only writing that suggests what Gennai thought of electricity.

Clarification is added to explain that Gennai Hiraga, a member of the samurai ruling class in his time, did not want to be seen "selling" something. There was a rigid social caste in his time. "Selling something" was the task of merchant class which was looked down upon by the ruling samurai class, and thus he "delivered" elekiteru devices on requests from more powerful samurai class patrons and rich merchants as part of larger consultation agreements. So accordingly, "sell" in a few places were changed to "deliver".

An explanation is added that there are a few existing system to transcribe Japanese using roman alphabets and thus there are potentially different spellings for the same name, for example.

Usual misspellings corrected, plural vs singular, past vs present modified appropriately.


Chiaki Ishikawa, one of the proposers

From the proposer: Added a timeline of evetns (mostly books) to show the impact of Gennai over later generation -- Zephyrus00jp (talk) 18:21, 12 July 2024 (UTC)

Dear reviewers and advocate,

We were made aware via advocate that the history committee would like to have more information on the evidence that "The device Gennai Hiraga created in Japan made following generations of inventors and the curious minded get acquainted with the behavior of static electricity and get ready to tackle electrical engineering in a modern setting in the 19th century.

We thought about it and the only way to do so seems to be expanding the explanation of development that happened after Gennai's death in 1779, only three years after his first Elekiteru device in 1776.

So, we did just that. We created the timeline table of major publications and describe what these events meant based on the reference [8] and many other sources.

It is a bit lengthy but we could not help it.

If Gennai Hiraga had lived a few years more, his influence would have been much more crystalized, but unfortunately, he died only three years after his first elekiteru device without leaving much writing on the device himself.

I hope the addition clearly showed the large impact the elekiteru device Gennai created had on the students of static electricity at the end of 18th century and early 19th century Japan. His big influence was why the government agency (and its museums in the past), academic associations including IEEE Japan council recognized Gennai's work as the cornerstone of electricity study in Japan. His was the first experiment in static electricity in modern (18th century) setting.

Chiaki Ishikawa, one of the proposers

Advocate’s Recommendation -- Tomohiro Hase (talk) 23:39, 14 July 2024 (UTC)

Advocate’s Recommendation for the IEEE Milestone #2024-16 “Elekiteru: First Electrostatic Generator in Japan, 1776”

July 15th, 2024.


Dear IEEE History Committee.

I’m honored to be an advocate to review for the Milestone Proposal, #2024-16 “Elekiteru: First Electrostatic Generator in Japan, 1776”.


(1) Expert Reviewers:

I asked five independent experts in the field of the proposal to conduct a detailed review from a technical point of view.

I asked expert reviewers following five questions.

(Q1) Is the suggested wording of the Plaque Citation accurate?

(Q2) Is the evidence presented in the proposal of sufficient substance and accuracy to support the Citation?

(Q3) There is a personal name in Citation, Gennai Hiraga. Proposer describes Elekiteru in his own achievements in the name-in-citation section. Do you agree with this claim?

(Q4) Does the proposed milestone represent a significant technical achievement?

(Q5) Were there similar or competing achievements? If so, have the proposers adequately described these and their relationship to the achievement being proposed?

I’ve upload five Expert Reviewer’s Reports to ETHW website as following URL:

https://ieeemilestones.ethw.org/Milestone-Proposal:Gennai_Hiraga%E2%80%99s_Erekiteru:_First_Electrostatic_Generator_in_Japan,_1776

As far as I can tell from reading the five Expert Reviewer Reports, I have received positive ratings from them all that are appropriate for Milestone.


(2) Advocates’ Checklist:

Following <Yes> is my check for lists.

Is proposal for an achievement rather than for a person? If the citation includes a person's name, have the proposers provided the required justification for inclusion of the person's name? <Yes>.

Was proposed achievement a significant advance rather than an incremental improvement to an existing technology? <Yes>.

Were there prior or contemporary achievements of a similar nature? <Yes>.

Has the achievement truly led to a functioning, useful, or marketable technology? <Yes>.

Is proposal adequately supported by significant references (minimum of five) such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or citations to pages in scholarly books? <Yes>.

At least one of the references from a peer-reviewed scholarly book or journal article. The full text of the material, not just the references, shall be present. If the supporting texts are copyright-encumbered and cannot be posted on the ETHW for intellectual property reasons, the proposers shall email a copy to the History Center so that it can be forwarded to the advocate. If the advocate does not consider the supporting references sufficient, the advocate may ask the proposer(s) for additional ones. Are the scholarly references sufficiently recent? <Yes>.

Is proposed citation readable and understandable by the general public? <Yes>.

Does the proposed plaque site fulfill the requirements? Is the address complete? <Yes>.

Are the GPS coordinates correct and in decimal format? <Yes>.

Is the proposal quality comparable to that of IEEE publications? <Yes>.

Scientific and technical units, correct? (e.g. km, mm, hertz, etc.) Are acronyms correct and properly uppercased or lowercased? <Yes>.

Date formats correct as specified in Section 6 of Milestones Program Guidelines? https://ieeemilestones.ethw.org/Helpful_Hints_on_Citations,_Plaque_Locations <Yes>

(3) Advocate’s Comment and Conclusion:

I received the satisfactory peer review results from five experts in the field of proposals. These expert reviewer’s reports and discussions were very useful for my decision as an advocate for Milestone 2024-16.

Citation:

Five expert reviewers responded that citation is accurate, judging by the answers to question Q1. They also reported that they confirmed that the contents of the citation are supported by evidences, judging by the answers to question Q2. As an advocate, I have the same judgments as reviewers, too.

Name-in-Citation: The five reviewers decided that it was appropriate for Gennai Hiraga's name to be included in the Citation. judging by the answers to question Q3. It is because they acknowledged that he alone had accomplished this feat. As an advocate, I have the same judgments as reviewers, too.

Technical significance and historical value:

Five expert reviewers gave me detailed reviews of the answers of Q4 and Q5. They acknowledged the historical significance of the Gennai Hiraga’s Elekiteru and its great impact for historical value. As an advocate, I have the same judgments as reviewers, too.

Advocate’s Conclusion:

All five expert reviewers gave the proposal strong recognition and support that it deserves the IEEE Milestone certification. I have considered carefully both the proposal and the expert reviewer’s reports, and have the same thought as expert reviewers. In conclusion, I strongly recommend this proposal to the IEEE Milestone as an advocate.


Best regards,

Dr. Tomohiro Hase, IEEE Fellow. Advocate #2024-16, IEEE History Committee.