This week, we’re going to zoom in on the kind of life that doesn’t usually make the big picture history of Japan. It’s time to look at the story of a single medical student during the final years of the Tokugawa era and explore everything from his education to his drinking habit, and to ask ourselves just what we can learn from such a focused examination of the past.

Sources

The fully accessible article on Shibata Shuzo that gave me this idea here. This is an unusual episode in that it’s only really driven by this source; the other work on Shibata that has been done is all in Japanese.

Images (Note: all images except the Kaitai Shinsho are from the Moriyama article)

An example of the kind of drinking establishment Shibata Shuzo would have frequented.

Shibata Shuzo’s world map.

The Ihou Taiseiron, a Chinese medical text from the 1300s that Shibata Shuzo learned traditional Chinese Medicine from.

Detail image from Kaigai Shinwa, a book of information about western imperialism produced in the late 1840s.

Kaitai Shinsho, one of the major works on Dutch medicine in the Edo Era.Japan