Whose Words Are Those? Language, Identity, and Medical Texts in Tokugawa Japan

In the spring of 1795, Japanese physician Ōtsuki Gentaku (大槻玄沢,1757–1827) recalled the time he spent in his youth with Tatebe Seian (建部清庵,1712–1782), his mentor in medicine. Through his career as a specialist in external medicine (geka), Seian developed an enthusiasm for Western learning through Dutch studies (rangaku) (Takebe, Sugita, and Sugita 1795, preface). Taking off…

The Appeal of a Royal Procession, Diagnosed

What drove people to interrupt royal processions, could it be mental illness? What political purposes could a psychiatric diagnosis serve, could it be more than dismissing a petitioner?

How to Talk to a Doctor (as a woman)

Tianyuan Huang // Reviewing recommendations on how to see a doctor from a women’s health journal in 1911, this essay explores physician-patient communication and what the distribution of responsibilities and powers tells us about a health culture in its fast evolving historical context.

The Road Not Taken: Thinking Beyond Vaccines

Tianyuan Huang// Truth be told, I did not see this coming. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought I would have been conducting dissertation research in Tokyo for nearly half a year by now; but I am still in New York City awaiting the lifting of travel bans, having already rescheduled flight tickets for the third…