Physicians and Famine in Japan: Takano Choei in the 1830s

Ellen Louise Gardner Nakamura

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Takano Ch?ei (1804-50) was a rangakusha: a scholar of Dutch learning, and a physician of Western medicine. Although he was one of the foremost scholars in his field, his career was cut off in its prime when he became the victim of an intrigue in 1839. As a result, much of his early work has been overshadowed by the political events that followed. This article takes a different approach to the writing of Ch?ei's history by presenting an example of his work as a physician in the period before his arrest. It examines the responses of Ch?ei and his colleagues to the famine and pestilence which ravaged the population during the Temp? Famine of the 1830s. The study is based on two short articles: one concerns the precautions people should take against epidemic disease, while the other deals with hardy, rapidly maturing crops thought helpful in warding off starvation. The focus of this article is on the way knowledge from Western sources was 'received'; that is, how it was actively assimilated and transformed, through a process of cultural exchange.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)429-445
    JournalSocial History of Medicine
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


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