The 33rd Frontier Seminar on “Plague and Shokanron in Early Modern Japan”

On June 8, 2021, The 33rd AJI Research Frontier Seminar took place online. This time, Dr. Xiang Jingjing (向静静) (Senior Researcher in the Asia-Japan Research Institute, Ritsumeikan University) made a presentation in Japanese under the title of “Plague and Shokanron in Early Modern Japan”. Dr. Xiang majors in the history of medical thought in China and Japan, and her research focuses on how Japanese medical doctors in the middle and late early-modern period accepted Shokanron, the classic Chinese medical work written by Zhang Zhongjing (150~219) during the Houhan period. She presented an exciting view on the above topic based on her historical investigation of how medical doctors in Japan, mainly in the early 18 century during the Edo period, studied Shokanron and extracted practical ways of prescribing against plagues at that time, especially measles. She presented a thought-provoking view on the future development of a concrete image of the history of Japanese medical thought before the influence of Dutch medicine. In the Q&A session, participants discussed several significant issues such as the temporal gap between the Kamakura period, when Shokanron was first introduced to Japan, and the eighteenth century when it became widely studied, and how we can position the widespread acceptance of Shokanron in the entire history of Japanese medical thought.

Dr Xiang making her presentation