OF WESTERN MEDICAL PRACTICE IN MEIJI JAPAN??
© 2007 James Deacon
several occasions in online Reiki discussions, I have heard people
repeat the belief that - in the very early years of the 20th Century
- the only form of medicine practiced widely in Japan was a system
derived from the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) model - that
the 'Western' medical model was almost unknown.
while it is certainly true that at an earlier (pre-Meiji)
period in Japanese history, the TCM-based system had indeed been
the heart of Japanese medical tradition (- it had been so for
several centuries), by the early 20th Century, Western Medicine
was most definitely well established in Japan.
Japan's Modern Educational System (copyright: Japanese
Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
first governmental institute of Western medicine evolved
from an immunization center founded in 1858 at Kanda Otamagaike
in Edo by Ito Genboku (1801-1871)
This center called the
Shutokan came under the direct control of the central government
In 1863 it was renamed the Igakujo, and it continued
to the end of the Shogunate as the leading center for Western
medicine. Following the Meiji Restoration it was re-established
by the new government and, with the Kaiseijo, formed the basis
of Japan's first modern university."
The Politics of Medicine in Meiji-Taisho Japan (Association
for Asian Studies, 2000)
"Beginning in the 1870s, medicine became an important object
of governmental policy in Japan, because the achievement of the
goal of "Rich Nation, Strong Military" required the
production of healthy workers and soldiers.
new state attempted to exercise control over the health of its
citizens with the promulgation of laws and policy statements under
the rubric of a "medical policy" that called for a national
system of public health and the regulation of medical expertise
and acceptable practice.
Japanese government also authorized the establishment of new institutions
- hospitals, asylums, and sanitariums.
the same time, new forms of public discourse arose that addressed
medical issues in popular publications as well as in the new universities."
A Cultural History of Tuberculosis in Modern Japan ( by
Meiji Restoration introduced western scientific ideas including
Fundamental change occurred when the decision was made instituting
the Isei (Medical System) in 1874 to adopt western
medicine as the orthodox approach in the new Meiji regime...."
The Usui Reiki Ryoho Hikkei
response to the question:] "What do well-known medical practitioners
think about it?"
well-known medical practitioners seem fair in their assessments.
Nowadays, western-style physicians are very critical of over-prescription
Dr Sen Nagai from Teikoku Medical University said: "As physicians,
we know how to diagnose, record and understand illness, but we
don't really know how to treat it".
DR Kondo said:"It is arrogant to claim that medical science
has made great progress, as it fails to address the psychological/spiritual
aspect of the patient. This is its biggest shortcoming."
DR Hara said:"It is wrong to treat humans, possessing spiritual
wisdom, like animals. It is my belief that in the future we can
expect a great transformation in the therapeutic field."
DR Kuga said:"The fact is that therapists who are not trained
physicians have achieved higher levels of success than medical
doctors because their therapies take into account the character
and personal symptoms of the patient and utilize many different
methods of treatment. It would be very narrow-minded for the medical
establishment to blindly reject these therapists or attempt to
impede their practice." (from the medical journal: 'Japanese
Doctors and pharmacists often recognize this fact and come to
receive training (in our method)."
It has been estimated that even at the beginning of the
Meiji era, somewhere in the region of 19 percent of doctors practiced
Western medicine - and they weren't all men, either:
Kusumoto [1827-1903] - daughter of a German doctor, Philipp Franz
von Siebold and Taki Kusumoto was one of the first women in Japan
to practice Western medicine.
She had her own General Medical Practice and also was an obstetrician