Japanese Computer Pioneers

Shiokawa ShinsukeShiokawa Shinsuke

Shiokawa Shinsuke was born in Kobe City on November 8, 1902. He studied at Kobe Dai-ichi Junior High School and Kobe Dai-ichi High School, both prestigious Kobe City schools. He and Uno Toshio, the famous mathematician were classmates during their high school years. He graduated from Department of Engineering of Kyushu Empire University in 1928, leaving Department of Agriculture forestry of the Tokyo Empire University before graduation. He first joined Yasukawa Electric Manufacturing Co. Ltd, but later moved to Fujitsu Ltd. after a short period of time with Fuji Electric Co., Ltd and following an introduction from Yasukawa Daigoro. He was engaging in code creation, trial manufacturing and manufacturing of decipherment machines.

He researched relay circuitry for binary notations in around 1940. When he tried to decompose second-hand products of the telecommunications relay, unite and install about 200 pieces, and completed arithmetic operation of measurement of binary system 10, conversion and inversion of ten notation and binary systems, Japan rushed into World War II.

When the Aeronautical Laboratory of the University of Tokyo established the Aeronautical Calculation Laboratory, Terasawa Kanichi was the head. His goal was to promptly answer the simultaneous linear equation. He started began designing an automatic computer for trial purposes only for the procession type. This computer was produced in cooperation with Terasawa and Sasaki Tatsujiro who were in this laboratory. During the War, this research was moved to the buildings of Furukawa Co., Ltd. in Nikko for safety and continued. They went to Tokyo at the risk of their lives to obtain parts for the relay.

He, admitted by Okada Kanjiro who was the president of Fujitsu, had a large influence on Kobayashi Taiyu and Ikeda Toshio who developed FACOM 100 etc. et al.

In 1959, he was sent to Yurin Denki Seiki, where he engaged in the calculation service using FACOM128. Afterwards, he served as a lecturer of Musashi Institute of Technology and the head of Calculation Center of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

Recognizing the rationality of the binary notation from an early age, he worked to clarify binary notation (octal notation) throughout his life. He devised the diagram for binary decimal notation conversion, and designed a method for calling the digit of the octal notation. The octal notation of the Shiokawa style says Pa, Pe, and Pi, the digit of 10, 100 and 1000 respectively. For instance, 1750 in octal notation is read as Pi7Pe5Pa. Mr. Shiokawa, who was popular among students as the teacher who lectured "77 or 11" at the university, wrote in the lecture:

"Because binary notation was advocated more than 30 years ago, and was not admitted, I was caught in feelings of solitary despair. However, fortunately, I later became fulfilled in my heart because I was able to see the present prosperity of computers as one application example, while I am alive. However, now I feel the same solitude as before because octal notation has not been pursued. I am praying secretly that some influential person in a foreign country 10 or so years from now will begin to take an interest. Alas, I should give up knowing while I am still alive.

Ikeda Toshio called him "Sorori Shinzaemon in Showa Era (Sorori Shinzaemon was legendary person in 16th century who was known for his lively wit.)"

He died on September 15, 1981.

(Wada Eiiti, Fujitsu)