Conference Details

The Tenth Japan at Chicago Conference: Medicine, Politics, and Culture in the Japanese Empire
May 11-12, 2012
John Hope Franklin Room
SS 224
1126 E 59th St
Chicago, IL  60637

Please complete the registration form for this workshop.

Susan L. Burns (The University of Chicago)
Wei-ti Chen (The University of Chicago)
Waka Hirokawa (Osaka University)
Rie Hogetsu (Ochanomizu University)
Wataru Iijima (Aoyama Gakuin University)
William Johnston (Wesleyan University)
Jeong-Ran Kim (Kobe University)
Miriam Kingsberg (University of Colorado)
Chang-Geon Shin (Tokyo University of Science)
Soyoung Suh (Dartmouth College)
Akihito Suzuki (Keio University)
Kathryn M. Tanaka (The University of Chicago)


May 11, 2012 (Friday)

8:30 Breakfast (presenters and registered participants)

9:00-9:15 Opening Remarks (Susan L. Burns)

9:15-12:15  Panel 1

The Circulation of Medical Personnel and Knowledge within the Japanese Empire

The relationship between medicine and imperialism is a burgeoning field, but most relevant studies are region-specific, focusing on the situation either in the metropole or in a colony. This panel seeks to explore the transnational flow of medical men and knowledge within the Japanese empire, not only the link between Japan and its colonies but also the (inter)connection between different territories.

Chair: James Ketelaar (The University of Chicago)
Discussant: Akihito Suzuki (Keio University)


Wei-ti Chen  (The University of Chicago)
Empire, the Medical Society, and the Emigration of Japanese Clinical Practitioners from 1900s to early 1920s

Wataru Iijima (Aoyama Gakuin University)
A Hidden Hygienic Connection between Japan and China; Prof. Otsuru’s Visiting China in 1957

Miriam Kingsberg (University of Colorado)
Legitimating Empire, Legitimating Nation: The Scientific Study of Opium Addiction in Japanese Manchuria

Chang-geon Shin(Tokyo University of Science)
How did Research on Traditional Medicine start in Colonial Korea?

12:15-1:15 Lunch (Presenters and registered participants)

1:15-4:15 Panel 2:

Community and Communicability: Responses to Illness in the Japanese Empire

Many scholars have examined the ways in which the government targeted communicable illness such as Hansen’s Disease and cholera at the turn of the twentieth century. Our panel builds on the existing scholarship of nation and illness to explore the interconnections between government polices and the variety of community responses to two illnesses, cholera and Hansen’s Disease. We are interested not only in the ways in which contagion and medicine become part of the ways in which nation and colony are defined, but also the ways in which both religious and secular communities defined their own notions of folk epidemiology. By looking at both cholera, an acute infectious disease and Hansen’s Disease, a chronic infectious disease, we hope to comparatively interrogate the ways in which the nature of the illness effects hospitalization, treatment, and the perception of contagion.

Chair and Discussant: Michael Bourdaghs (The University of Chicago)


Waka Hirokawa (Osaka University)
From Rural to Urban Communities: Epidemiological perspectives on Hansen’s Disease in Modern Japan

William Johnston (Wesleyan University)
One Disease as Many: Medical and Hygienic Understandings of Cholera in Early Meiji Japan

Jeong-Ran Kim (Kobe University)
Building a Sanitary Settlement: Cholera and the Foundation of Japanese Imperialism in Busan c.1876-1910

Kathryn Tanaka (The University of Chicago)
In the Shade of the Cypress: Trauma and the Literary Community in Kyûshû’s Hansen’s Disease Hospital


May 12, 2012 (Saturday)

8:30 a.m. Breakfast (Presenters and registered participants)

9:00-12:00 Panel 3

Health and Consumer Culture in the Japanese Empire

Japan’s project of empire building coincided with and was implicated in the formation of a burgeoning consumer culture in the metrople and the colonies.  This panel explores the intersections of consumer culture, colonial medicine, and empire by examining the flow of goods, businesses, institutions, and discourses around the empire.

Chair: Reginald Jackson (The University of Chicago_

Discussant: William Johnston (Wesleyan University)


Susan L. Burns (The University of Chicago)
The Japanese Patent Drug Trade in East Asia: Consumer Culture, Colonial Medicine, and Imperial Modernity

Rie Hogetsu  (Ochanomizu University)
Dental Health as a Mission: Administration, Professionals, and Growing Enterprises in the Japanese Empire

Soyoung Suh (Dartmouth College)
Marketing Medicine in Colonial Korea (1910-1945)

Akihito Suzuki  (Keio University)
Psychiatry of a Population: An Overview of the Imperial Themes in Japanese Psychiatry from the 1930s to the 1950s

12:00-1:00 Lunch (Presenters and registered participants)

1:00-2:00  Discussion (Presenters only, please)