WASEDA WEEKLY

Office hour chat with a professor :
Living with Insects
The Laboratory of Professor Ikeda Kiyohiko


Professor Ikeda Kiyohiko
He shows the specimens of insects from the cabinet, and adds that he has 800 more display boxes at home.
“Gekkan Mushi”
“Gekkan Mushi” (i.e. “Monthly Insects”)- sometimes the Professor himself also writes. The picture on the cover (right) is drawn by Tetuhito Wakejima, a painter as well as a friend who also enjoys catching insects.
A bookshelf containing Professor Ikeda's books.
A bookshelf containing Professor Ikeda's books.
He bought the insect printed mag cup when he was carrying out research at the Museum of Australia for a year
He bought the insect printed mag cup when he was carrying out research at the Museum of Australia for a year.

“Do you want to see some insects?” asked Professor Ikeda. He smiled happily as he slowly opened the cabinet in which nearly a hundred specimens of insects were displayed. Each specimen on the densely arranged shelves was labeled with its place and date of capture. One of them had a hand-written label that was turning yellow with age. It read “T. YORO”. Amazingly, Professor Ikeda had received this specimen from the famous anatomist, Takeshi Yoro. He had met him at a symposium more than 20 years ago and they became friends. With a playful laugh he explains the origin of the specimen: “In the old days, when Mr. Yoro caught some stag beetles in Australia, he said at the time ‘I want to keep them all.’ And, indeed, he brought them all back with him.”

Professor Ikeda has been catching and collecting insects for long time. He began when he was in elementary school has continued doing so until now. He comments that “I don't have many more insects to catch, but I still go out collecting every week.” He has already collected insects that can be caught anywhere readily, so he now often must wait the whole day until he catches one rare specimen. Sometimes he discovers a new species of insect. He tells us that “there was one found in 1999 by Tuji and Ito, who were students at Yamanashi University. I took both their names and called the insect ‘Tujius itoi’.” How kind it was of him to derive the name from those of the students instead of from his own name. He explains that “this is a very special specimen and I could not put my name on it.” He goes on to add that “when I found a new type of insect, Mr. Masatoshi Takakuwa at the Kanagawa Prefecture Museum did use my name as part of the species name, calling it ‘Morurukusu ikedai’.”

In the bookshelf near the entrance door are collected the more than 40 books that Professor Ikeda has written and had published. Somehow, he remains approachable and friendly even though he is famous as a great researcher. That is why many students visit him and are able to enjoy being in his company. When one of the students who came in was asked about his visit, he responded “I like the Professor as a teacher!” Looking at Professor. Ikeda's smile, it was a convincing response.


Copyright (C) 2006 Student Affairs Division, WASEDA University. All rights reserved.
First drafted 2006 July 20.