Kaichi Watanabe

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Kaichi Watanabe
Watanabe Kaichi.jpg
Born(1858-03-22)22 March 1858
Died4 December 1932(1932-12-04) (aged 84)
Other names渡邊 嘉一
ChildrenTakashi Asahina (conductor)

Kaichi Watanabe (渡邊 嘉一, Watanabe Kaichi, 22 March 1858—4 December 1932) was a Japanese engineer who studied and worked in Scotland, United Kingdom during the 1880s. He was one of the first Japanese engineers who came to study in the UK. He is best known for his work with Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker in cantilever bridge construction, notably on the Forth Bridge.

Kaichi Watanabe (centre, seated) demonstrating the cantilever principle

Watanabe studied under Henry Dyer, the Scottish engineer associated with technical education in Japan. After obtaining a degree from the Faculty of Technology of the University of Tokyo, he studied at the University of Glasgow from 1885 and graduated with a Civil Engineering and Bachelor of Science degree,[1] and worked as a construction foreman on the Forth Bridge, which crossed the Firth of Forth in eastern Scotland in 1890.[2]

Watanabe's image became well known in the 1887 photograph illustrating the cantilever principle, in which he poses with Fowler and Baker, suspended between the engineers who form a cantilever structure with their arms.[3]

Conductor Takashi Asahina was the illegitimate son of Watanabe.[4]


  1. ^ "University of Glasgow engineer to appear on new £20 note". University of Glasgow. 2 October 2007. Archived from the original on 15 August 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  2. ^ "Rail bridge builder on £20 notes". BBC News. 8 October 2007. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  3. ^ "Forth Railway Bridge". Forth Bridges Visitor Centre Trust. 2004. Archived from the original on 22 February 2008. Retrieved 19 February 2008.
  4. ^ 中丸美繪[NAKAMARU Yoshie] オーケストラ、それは我なり[Orchestra, that is me](in Japanese) Bungeishunjū pp.35-49, 2008 ISBN 9784163705804