In the past decade, historical studies have moved beyond the mere focus on national or area studies of science to form broader understandings of knowledge itself as a form of cross-cultural interaction, exchange, and communication. Building upon a wide range of scholarship as such, this panel proposes to reflect on the history of medicine in modern Japan. Drawing upon multilingual sources and various perspectives, papers in this panel together map the dynamic mingling global and domestic network of knowledge circulation that fostered the development of medical science from late 19th century to mid-20th century in modern Japan.
Isaac C.K. Tan’s research examines the role of a relatively unknown medical enterprise, Ishizu Pharmaceutical Company, in the modernization of the Japanese pharmaceutical industry and the proliferation of scientific knowledge in the first half of the twentieth century. Jing Sun's paper argues that the scientific experiments conducted in Japan on the connection between food and human health reveals a global network of knowledge exchange that both contributed to and ironically obstructed the development of modern nutrition science in Japan. Juhee Kang’s study centers on the making and applications of a psychological test to demonstrate how the idea of testing as a tool to scientifically manage the human body and life has traveled and adapted to the local circumstances. Together these papers explore various facets of global knowledge circulation and (re)production in medical science lodged in the late nineteenth and twentieth century Japan.
Paper Presenter: Jing Sun – University of Pennsylvania
Paper Presenter: Juhee Kang – Harvard University
Paper Presenter: Isaac C. K. Tan – Columbia University