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Shoshiro Hanzawa

1896 - 1983?

Shoshiro (or Shôshirô) Hanzawa was born in Sendai City, Japan on September 1, 1896. It's unclear when he died. A "memorial volume" dedicated to Professor Hanzawa was published on May 1, 1960 (see below). However, his date of death isn't mentioned in the memorial and lists his dates as 1895-1983. It may be that the word "memorial" was mistranslated and the volume was a "tribute in honor of". Or, he may have died in the late 1950's and the date in is for a different "Shoshiro Hanzawa".

Professor Hanzawa spent his career at the Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Tohoku University, Japan (apparently renamed in 1926 from Tohôku Imperial University). He published extensivly starting in 1925. The last publication date appears to be 1970. Hanzawa studied in Dr. Cushman in 1938.

The following is the memorial section from Professor Shoshiro Hanzawa Memorial Volume / Enzo Konno; Kotora Hatai; Kiyoshi Asano Publication Sapporo (Japan): Tohoku University, 1960

Professor Shoshiro Hanzawa was born in Sendai City on September 1, 1896, as the fourth son of Doctor Shosaku Hanzawa, a well known eye doctor in Sendai. After receiving his early education in Sendai, he majored in geology and paleontology in the Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Faculty of Science, Tohoku University, graduating there from in March 1921. After graduation he was appointed Research Associate in that institution, where he studied in micropaleontology and geology.

During his 12 years Research Associate he was very active in describing the smaller Foraminifera of the Pliocene and Pleistocene deposits of Japan and had already begun work on the larger forms. Also his field works during this time covered many parts of the Japanese Islands and the oceanographical investigations in the Southwest North Pacific were made in these years. His first observations on the coral reefs of Micronesia were begun at this time.

In 1933 he was appointed Lecturer in the same institution and in 1935 he was given the Chair in Historical Geology, a position he held until his resignation in March 1960. Three years later, in 1938 he received his Doctor of Science degree from the Ministry of Education of the Japanese Government in recognition of his excellent work on the geology of the Ryukyu Islands and on the Tertiary larger Foraminifera from Japan and the Indo-Pacific region. During these years he travelled abroad from Feburary 1936 to April 1938. He studied under Dr. J. A. Cushman in the Cushman Laboratory for Foraminiferal Research in Sharon, Massachussetts, under Dr. C. O. Dunbar in the Peabody Museum of Natural History of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, under Dr. T.W. Vaughan in the United States National Museum in Washington and also under him in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at La Jolla, California. Thenafter he proceeded to England and studied in the Sedgwick Museum of Cambridge University, then went to Germany to study in the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin Universität (Geologisches und Paleontologisches Institut). After leaving Germany, he went to France to study in the Musée d' histoire naturel (Laboratorie de Paléontologie) in Paris, and in the Ecole des Mines. On his return trip to Japan he was appointed Japanese delegate to the 17th International Geological Congress held in Moscow.

He was appointed Professor of Historical Geology in 1941. His works on the Foraminifera were largely on the Tertiary larger Foraminifera, but he also published many papers on the fusulinids of the Carboniferous and Permian. He also studied the larger Foraminifera from the Jurassic and Cretaceous of Japan. From his works the knowledge on the Japanese Paleozoic and Mesozoic Foraminifera progressed and have been responsible for the stimulation to the many investigators now acitve in Japan.

His stratigraphical works including geomorphological studies were dealt with the Tertiary and Pleistocene deposits of the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan, Micronesia and the Ogasawara Islands (Bonin Islands). Aside from his works abroad, he also studied the Tertiary deposits of Saghalin and Hokkaido, the Paleozoic and Mesozoic Uplands of the Kitakami Massif, Abukuma Massif, Kwanto Massif and of the Hida and Chugoku regions in Japan. The Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Tertiary geology of Shikoku and Kyushu, the Tertiary and Pleistocene stratigraphy of Northern Honshu were also studied by him. The geological works were associated with his paleontological contributions and have been important in the interpretation of the geological history of those regions.

He was also deeply interested in problems related with oceanography, boarding the surveyings ships S. S. Manshu and S. S. Koshu. These oceanographical observations were made chiefly in the Southwest North Pacific Ocean, and the bottom sediments obtained at that time were published in the Records of Oceanographical Works in Japan and in Contributions from the Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Faculty of Science, Tohoku University.

The more important contributions to the geology of Japan and the surrounding regions by Professor Hanzawa are summarized in the following.

The long beleived conformable relation between the Carboniferous and Permian deposits of Japan was proved by him to be one of unconformity, because the Triticites Zone (Missourian and Virgilian) is missing. The accepted Paleozoic age of the older rocks of the Ryukyu Islands determined at that time from the lithological similarity with rocks of known Paleozoic age, was proved to be Permian from their fusulinids. The sediments of the backbone ranges of Taiwan have long been thought to be Mesozoic or older in age merely from their similarity with formations of that age. However, from the geological and paleontological studies of Professor Hanzawa it became evident that Foraminifera of the Eocene and Oligocene occur from those sediments. From such evidence he concluded that the greater parts of those sediments are Tertiary in age.

In the Joban coal-field, the Taga Group which has hitherto been considered a correlative of the Pliocene Tatsunokuchi Formation in the Sendai Area, was first doubted by Professor Hanzawa. His doubt was upheld by the molluscan paleontology then being advanced by the students in the Institute of Geology and Paleontology. Progressed field work proved that the Taga group should be distinguished from the Tatsunokuchi Formation and the paleontological studies by Dr. K. Asano on the smaller foraminifers and by Dr. K. Hatai on the molluscs revealed that the Taga is Upper Miocene in age. This work was directed by Professor Hanzawa. The discovery of smaller foraminifers from the Joban coal-field has lead to the discovering of them from the Quarternary, Tertiary and Cretaceous deposits of Japan. The planktonic foraminifers yielded from the Tertiary and Cretaceous sediments proved to comprise several zones, correlative with foreign ones and that recognition suggests the possibility of the existence of other zones in Japan.

In the vicinity of Sendai are developed the Akakura , Shirasawa , Nenoshiroishi , Okubushi plant beds and others, all of which yielded a flora of broad leaves indicating a cold climate. These deposits are lacustrine and have thought to belong to the same horizon although their precise stratigraphical position and geological ages remained obscure. It is in the vicinity of Iwagasaki (Miyagi Prefecture), where Professor Hanzawa discovered the Pliocene Tatsunokuchi Formation unconformably overlies the lacustrine deposits equivalent with the aforementioned plant beds and cover unconformably middle Miocenemarine sediments. Since this discovery, many geologists have observed the same relationship in various localities. From the evidence, paleontological and stratigraphical, the age of the plant beds is Upper Miocene. This work in the various localities was directed by Professor Hanzawa.

From his extensive field works covering the larger parts of Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu, Hokkaido, Sado, Awaji, South Saghalin, Ryukyu Islands, Ogasawara Islands, Taiwan, Micronesia, Manchuria and Korea, Professor Hanzawa became familiar with the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic sediments of the mentioned regions. Having studied the paleontology, geomorphology, geostructure and geohistory of the vast area, he became deeply interested in the tectogeology of Japan and the long experience lead to his valuable interpretations.

Professor Hanzawa was devoted to the paleontology of the Foraminifera, but was also deeply interested in all field of geology, particularly stratigraphy, marine geology, geomorphology, tectogeology, paleontology and historical geology. To all persons acquainted with him he is known to be an active and energetic man, spending his holiday sand vacations in the field or in the laboratory. Week end days are spent in areas near Sendai City. He spent much time in instructing the young men in the field and laboratory work, was always ready to discuss problems no matter how busy he was, took deep interest in new views and always had time to do things concerned with geology. His arguments were always based on his personal field or laboratory evidences and when new views were presented he visited those areas to observe the evidence before starting discussions. Being a distinguished paleontologist and a well known geologist, his name has been given to genera and species of many different phyla of the marine animals, such as to the Foraminifera, Anthozoa, Brachiopoda, Bryozoa, Gastropoda and Pelecypoda, as well as Plantae.

Kiyoshi Asano
Institute of Geology and Paleontology
Tohoku University Sendai, Japan
May 1, 1960







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