Kin Yamei (金韻梅, 1864 – March 4, 1934) also seen as Chin Ya-mei or Jin Yunmei, or anglicized as Y. May King, was a Chinese-born, American-raised doctor, hospital administrator, educator, and nutrition expert. She is credited with introducing tofu to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) during World War I.
Kin Yamei was born in 1864, in Ningbo. Her father, Rev. Kying Ling-yiu (Chin Ding-yu), was a Christian convert. When she was two years old she was orphaned during the cholera epidemic; she was adopted by American missionaries, Divie Bethune McCartee and Juana M. Knight McCartee. They encouraged her to use her given name, and to learn Chinese as well as English; she also learned to speak Japanese and French. She attended the Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary, founded by Elizabeth Blackwell, where she graduated at the top of her class in 1885. She was the first Chinese woman to receive a medical degree in the United States in 1888. The Chinese Consul attended the graduation ceremony to witness her achievement. She pursued further study in Philadelphia and Washington, D. C. She also learned photography skills, and published a journal article on medical photo-micrography while she was in medical school.
From 1890 to 1894, she ran a hospital for women and children in Kobe, Japan, where she stayed while recovering from malaria. She was superintendent at a women’s hospital and nurses’ training program at Tientsin. She also founded the Northern Medical School for Women at Zhili, in 1907.
She also lectured in the United States about Chinese culture, women, and medicine, including a speech to the Los Angeles Medical Association, and a speech at Carnegie Hall. She published an article about Honolulu’s Chinatown in Overland Monthly (1902), and an article about soybeans in the New-York Tribune (1904). She spent World War I in the United States, working with the USDA on nutritional and other uses for soybeans, and introducing tofu to American food scientists. She addressed an international Peace Conference in 1904, in New York City.