Doctors of Empire: Medical and Cultural Encounters between Imperial Germany and Meiji Japan
Published: June 2016
266 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.50 in
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.
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
‘Doctors of Empire is an illuminating work that shows how imperial relations of power shaped the medical profession in Germany, Japan, and East Asia.’Susan L. Burns, Medical History vol 59:03:2015
‘Hoi-eun-Kim’s Doctors of Empire provides a new and welcome addition to the growing literature on Meiji Japan. Scholars have long acknowledged the Meiji fascination with German scientific models of practice; Kim is one of the first to investigate this relationship in detail.’John DiMoia, Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Cultural Review June 2015
‘An engaging account of intellectual exchange and occasional friction set in the universities, hospitals, boarding houses, and beer halls of two ambitious empires. This tightly structured book covers the origins, evolution, and implications of this intellectual exchange… Outstanding work.’Adam T. Roesnbaum, German Studies Review vol 39:02:2016
‘This excellent book deserves careful attention from modern historians of both countries as well as scholars in the history of medicine.’James R. Bartholomew, Journal of Japanese Studies vol 42:02:2016
"Moving gracefully between European and Japanese archives, Doctors of Empire focuses on the emergence, evolution, and demise of one of the most innovative cross-cultural rendezvous in the history of imperial medical regime making… Meticulously researched and elegantly written, Doctors of Empire significantly enriches the historiography of medicine and imperiality."Howard Chiang, ISIS Vol 109:02:2018
“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.” Deborah Neill, Associate Professor of History, York University
“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.”Erik Grimmer-Solem, Department of History, Wesleyan University