Doctors of Empire: Medical and Cultural Encounters between Imperial Germany and Meiji Japan

Doctors of Empire: Medical and Cultural Encounters between Imperial Germany and Meiji Japan

by Hoi-eun Kim

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The history of German medicine has undergone intense scrutiny because of its indelible connection to Nazi crimes. What is less well known is that Meiji Japan adopted German medicine as its official model in 1869. In Doctors of Empire, Hoi-eun Kim recounts the story of the almost 1,200 Japanese medical students who rushed to German universities to learn cutting-edge knowledge from the world leaders in medicine, and of the dozen German physicians who were invited to Japan to transform the country’s medical institutions and education.

Shifting fluently between German, English, and Japanese sources, Kim’s book uses the colourful lives of these men to examine the impact of German medicine in Japan from its arrival to the pinnacle of its influence and its abrupt but temporary collapse at the outbreak of the First World War.

Transnational history at its finest, Doctors of Empire not only illuminates the German origins of modern medical science in Japan but also reinterprets the nature of German imperialism in East Asia.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442660489
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 07/31/2014
Series: German and European Studies
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
File size: 6 MB

About the Author

Hoi-eun Kim is an associate professor in the Department of History at Texas A&M University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


A Note on Names

Introduction: Weaving Germany and Japan together with the Thread of Medical Science

1. Same Bed, Different Dreams

2. Borrowed Hands: German Physicians’ Medical Education in Meiji Japan

3. Socialized Intellect: Intellectual and Communal Journeys of Japanese Doctors in Germany

4. Bedazzled and Bewildered: Cultural Journeys of Japanese Students in Germany

5. Japan through Stethoscope: German Physicians as Anthropologists of Meiji Japan

6. Promises and Perils of Encounters: Influences of German Medicine in Japan

Epilogue: Fatal Affinities? The Long-term Legacies of German-Japanese Medical Relations


What People are Saying About This

Deborah Neill

Doctors of Empire takes us to the cosmopolitan city of Berlin, showing it to us in the eyes of Japanese students, and shedding light on its universities, beer halls, rooming houses, and friendship circles. In doing this, Kim shows us an innovative way of looking at German-Japanese relationships outside the usual political and diplomatic discussions and reveals why transnational scientific exchanges are a vital part of larger stories.”

Erik Grimmer-Solem

“Kim explores the networks and relationships that made and changed the study of medicine in both Japan and Germany from a superb base of Japanese and German archival sources. A richly detailed and compelling picture of the globalization of German medical education and the socialization of the young doctors that benefitted from this exchange, Doctors of Empire is a groundbreaking work of transnational history.”

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