Tojiro Sano Japan

Biography of Tojiro Sano

Tojiro Sano enrolled at the University in 1893 to study Engineering. He was born in Nagoya in 1869, and studied Sanitary Engineering under William K Burton at Imperial University, the predecessor of the University of Tokyo. In 1891, Sano became a civil engineering officer at Osaka in order to establish waterworks, moving to Kobe City by invitation.

Sano came to the University of Glasgow in 1893 to study Engineering at the age of 25. While in Glasgow, he oversaw and checked the manufacturing of cast-iron pipes at D Y Stewart & Company, which would be used in the construction of Osaka waterworks. During his stay in the UK, he inspected British dams in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and Liverpool, and upon his return to Japan, constructed the first concrete dam in Japan, the ‘Nunobiki Dam’ in 1900.

Sano contributed to the construction of waterworks and dams in not only Osaka and Kobe, but also Okayama, Saga, Kagawa and Gifu prefectures and Korea. Three of his dams have since been designated as Japanese Modern Civil Engineering Heritage. In 1911, Sano was appointed the chief engineer of Kobe City, and later as the president of Japan Waterworks Civil Engineering. In 1919, he was awarded membership of American Society of Civil Engineers, and was also an associate member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in the UK, whose archives recently discovered an unpublished article.

Sano's enthusiam for civil engineering saw him name his first two sons, 堰一 (Dam) and 堤二 (Dike). He also had an enthusiam for British food, according to his grandson, prefering to breakfast on oatmeal or ham and eggs, and enjoying an apple pie when he came back from a walk.


Printed Materials

  • Matsushita, M(2003), ‘Tojiro Sano and Kobe Water’s Three Classic Dams’, Historical Studies in Civil Engineering, vol.23
  • Shoji Katoh(2009) ’Aspects of Educational and Cultural Exchange between Japan and Scotland: Meiji Japan and Glasgow’, Bulletin of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development, Nagoya University, vol.56, no.2

Archival Materials

  • R8/15/14/8 Matriculation slips


Tojiro Sano
Born 19 June 1869.
Died 7 November 1929.
GU Degree: Science and Engineering, 1893-1894;
University Link: Student
Occupation categories: engineers, civil
English snippet: Prominent Japanese civil engineer
Record last updated: 17th Apr 2013

Country Associations

Japan Japan, Nagoya
Place of Birth

Japan Japan, No Region
Place of Death

University Connections

University Roles

  • Student