Episode 248 – Family Matters

This week we take on the history of the von Siebold family — father Philip Franz, son Alexander, and daughter Kusumoto Ine. How does the story of this unusual family fit in to the story of 19th century Japan?


Nakamura, Ellen. “Working the Siebold Network: Kusumoto Ine and Western Learning in Nineteenth-Century Japan.” Japanese Studies 28, No. 2

Ravina, Mark. To Stand with the Nations of the World.

Walthall, Anne. The Female as Subject: Women and Writing in Early Modern Japan.

Nakamura, Ellen. “Ogino Ginko’s Vision: “The Past and Future of Women Doctors in Japan” U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal, no. 34 (2008)


Philip Franz von Siebold during his time in Nagasaki. The painting was done by Kawahara Keiga, a Japanese painter who was friends with von Siebold.
A landscape by Kawahara Keiga showing Dutchmen observing Nagasaki’s harbor. The woman and child shown here are Taki and Ine.
Philip Franz and Alexander von Siebold around the time of Philip’s second trip to Japan in 1859.
Mise Shuzo and Kusumoto Takako.
Kusumoto Ine posing at the height of her career. She became a very well respected practitioner of Western medicine.
Alexander von Siebold did well out of his work in Japan, netting a minor Barony in Austria-Hungary as well as a steady and respectable job.
Kusumoto Ine and her daughter Takako late in Ine’s life.
The Siebold Memorial in Nagasaki, c. early 20th c. Siebold is still remembered fondly in Japan (especially in Nagasaki) as an early booster of Japan around the world.

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