- Hiro Fujimoto, “Bakumatsu meiji shonen ni okeru san-nin no amerika-jin iryō-senkyōshi ni tsuite [The American Medical Missionaries in Late-Tokugawa and Early-Meiji Japan],” Yōgaku, Vol. 23, 2016, pp. 89–114.
In 1859, American Protestant churches started sending missionaries to Japan. They tried to spread Christianity not directly, such as establishing churches, but indirectly, such as providing English education and medicine because the Tokugawa government still prohibited Christianity. In so doing, they tried to remove the Japanese people's fear of the religion and introduce them to Christianity. This paper will examine how the American missionaries utilized medicine in order to spread the gospel to the Japanese people.
In 1859 and 1860, three American medical missionaries arrived in Yokohama and Nagasaki: James C. Hepburn from the Presbyterian Church, Duane B. Simmons from the Dutch Reformed Church, and Henry E. Schmid from the Protestant Episcopal Church. I will recount how they gave medicine to the poor and instructed Japanese physicians and medical students in Western medicine. Although Simmons and Schmid served as medical missionaries for a year, Hepburn continued medical work for more than 15 years and influenced many Japanese physicians.
I will also elucidate how Japanese physicians built their careers after studying from the American medical missionaries. Although the missionaries tried to evangelize Japanese physicians through medical education, the Japanese physicians wanted to learn Western medicine rather than Christianity. Most of the Japanese doctors, who learned from the medical missionaries, contributed to the development of Western medicine or the establishment of Western-style hospitals and medical schools in their hometowns. A few physicians became Christian and spread the gospel in their hometowns. Other doctors tried to disseminate Anglo-American medicine by differentiating it from other Western medicine, such as German or Dutch medicine.