||Sensai Nagayo: Pioneer of Hygienic Modernity or Heir to Legacies from the Premodern Era?
088 , 2017-03-31 , 大手前大学
This paper investigates Sensai Nagayo’s ideas on hygiene through xamining his 1877 treatise Eisei Iken (An opinion on public health). Nagayo was a Japanese physician and bureaucrat who served for 18 years (1875-1892) as the director of the Central Sanitary Bureau of the Home Department. Scholars have long referred to his ideas and activities in the context of the establishment of the public health system in nineteenth-century Japan, yet they seem to have failed to correctly understand the characteristics of his achievements. Specifically, due to an emphasis on ‘hygienic modernity’ among scholars like Ruth Rogaski, they often discuss this aspect of westernisation alone in Nagayo’s ideas. This paper takes a different approach and demonstrates that Nagayo worked on improving pharmaceutical affairs in the early days of his directorship, mainly by relying on traditional wholesale pharmacists or through the traditional distribution system of medical chemicals, in particular wholesalers in Osaka Doshô-machi. These conclusions elucidate that the Japanese medical or hygienic system was not only an echo of those of European countries but also included traditions derived from the Japanese premodern medical system.