Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Doctors of Empire

Doctors of Empire: Medical and Cultural Encounters between Imperial Germany and Meiji Japan

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 272
  • Book Info
    Doctors of Empire
    Book Description:

    The history of German medicine has undergone intense scrutiny because of its indelible connection to Nazi crimes. What is less well known is that Meiji Japan adopted German medicine as its official model in 1869. InDoctors of Empire, Hoi-eun Kim recounts the story of the almost 1,200 Japanese medical students who rushed to German universities to learn cutting-edge knowledge from the world leaders in medicine, and of the dozen German physicians who were invited to Japan to transform the country's medical institutions and education.

    Shifting fluently between German, English, and Japanese sources, Kim's book uses the colourful lives of these men to examine the impact of German medicine in Japan from its arrival to the pinnacle of its influence and its abrupt but temporary collapse at the outbreak of the First World War.

    Transnational history at its finest,Doctors of Empirenot only illuminates the German origins of modern medical science in Japan but also reinterprets the nature of German imperialism in East Asia.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6047-2
    Subjects: History, Health Sciences

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. A Note on Names and the Romanization of Japanese Language
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. Introduction: Weaving Germany and Japan Together with the Thread of Medical Science
    (pp. 3-15)

    The fourth of April 1907 was an unusually fine spring day on the campus of Tokyo Imperial University, the first and most prestigious modern institution of higher education in Japan. There, countless German and Japanese national flags of all sizes waved brilliantly before the gothic-style buildings of the Faculty of Medicine. On the athletic field adjacent to the buildings, two gigantic tents had been set up as a banquet venue where many of the academic, political, and diplomatic dignitaries of Tokyo cheerfully toasted each other with beer and sake. What had brought them all together on this festive afternoon was...

  7. Chapter 1 Same Bed, Different Dreams
    (pp. 16-30)

    It was a hot and humid summer day in August 1871. Describing his first meeting with Japanese medical students at Tōkō [East College] of Daigaku¹ in Tokyo, the predecessor of the prestigious Tokyo Imperial University, Leopold Müller, the first German army staff physician (Oberstabarzt) dispatched to Japan as a professor of medicine, recalls that he had the bizarre impression of entering a synagogue:²

    In our first visit of the school, around 300 students were introduced to us; they were sitting in a series of halls with ten to sixteen students at a table, with each one having a hibachi (a...

  8. Chapter 2 Borrowed Hands: German Physicians’ Teaching of Medical Education in Meiji Japan
    (pp. 31-53)

    In retrospect, it is almost a miracle that the German doctors Müller and Hoffmann did not suffer heart attacks on the very first day of school. Their first visit to the medical school located at Kanda Izumibashi-dori in Tokyo was expected to be ceremonious, if not festive. Accompanied by a German cavalry entourage, the two German doctors were dressed in full military attire, including spiked helmets, a choice they deliberately made to build their authority and draw an unbridgeable line between them and their students.¹ It did not take long, however, for these physicians to realize that the clothing trick...

  9. Chapter 3 Socialized Intellect: Intellectual and Communal Journeys of Japanese Doctors in Germany
    (pp. 54-87)

    Having lunch at Berlin’s Hotel Garni zum Deutschen Kaiser on Schadowstraße on 12 October 1884, Hashimoto Tsunatsune (1845–1909), a surgeon major general on his second sojourn in Germany, reminded Mori Rintarō (1862–1922), a twenty-two-year-old fledgling first lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps, of his duty while in Berlin, along with a rule of thumb for living in a foreign country: “You have two responsibilities to our government: to study hygiene and to learn about the German Army’s Medical Corps. You won’t learn how things operate here unless you are a keen observer.”¹ The very next day, and two...

  10. Chapter 4 Bedazzled and Bewildered: Cultural Journeys of Japanese Students in Germany
    (pp. 88-101)

    In his 1890 autobiographical novelThe Dancing Girl[Maihime], Mori Ōgai (Mori Rintarō) recounted the first impression he had of Berlin, a sprawling metropolis: “Suddenly here I was, standing in the middle of this most modern of European capitals. My eyes were dazzled by its brilliance, my mind was dazed by the riot of color.” The initial impact this new city had on young Mori is further revealed in his novel through the voice of his protagonist, Ōta Toyotaro:

    To translate Unter den Linden as “under the Bodhi tree” would suggest a quiet secluded spot. But just come and see...

  11. Chapter 5 Japan through the Stethoscope: German Physicians as Anthropologists of Meiji Japan
    (pp. 102-122)

    “On Tuesday, the fourth, we shall begin to cross the second ocean. Oh! How happily I am anticipating Japan! If only we were already there!”¹ These exuberant words, penned from San Francisco by the twenty-three-year-old, newlywed Berliner Emma Schultze (1855–1931) on 31 May 1878, express her blossoming expectations of a new life in Japan in a letter to her parents in Berlin. Married for a little over a month to thirty-eight-year-old Dr Wilhelm Schultze (1840–1924), a German staff surgeon dispatched to Japan in 1874, Emma Schultze was an aspiring young woman who did not shrink from the opportunity...

  12. Chapter 6 Promises and Perils of Encounters: Influences of German Medicine in Japan
    (pp. 123-148)

    On 12 June 1908, standing on the deck of the steamshipSiberia Maru,Robert Koch anxiously awaited disembarkation at Yokohama Harbour. To the sixty-five-year-old Nobel laureate for physiology or medicine in 1905, the twelve-day seafaring journey from Honolulu to Yokohama was a welcome respite from an onerous, seven-week-long visit to the United States that had tested his patience.

    The purpose of Koch’s first visit to the United States had simply been to spend a few days on his way to Japan with his two brothers Henry and Adolph, who had moved and settled respectively in St Louis, Missouri, and Keystone,...

  13. Epilogue: Fatal Affinities? The Long-Term Legacies of German–Japanese Medical Relations
    (pp. 149-162)

    The First World War, which demarcated the “long” nineteenth century from the “short” twentieth century in European history, functioned as a watershed in the interactions between German and Japanese physicians as well. At the outbreak of the Great War, on 23 August 1914, Japan decided to enter the fray against Germany by aligning with the British and subsequently took over Germany’s Pacific islands and leased territories in China’s Shandong Peninsula. This adamant action by the Japanese naturally infuriated the German population, and German newspapers published almost daily invectives against Japanese infidelity. The most immediate victims of the military conflict in...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 163-214)
  15. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 215-232)
  16. Index
    (pp. 233-249)