Transforming Eisei in Meiji Japan


in Hygienic Modernity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780520240018
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930605 | DOI:
Transforming Eisei in Meiji Japan

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This chapter addresses the “birth” of hygienic modernity as Meiji physician-bureaucrats used the term weisheng to convey a philosophy that linked the health of the individual to the health of the nation. It specifically reviews the specific textual influences, the circulations between Japan and Europe, and the significant linguistic choices that went into the process of developing hygienic modernity in Japan. Nagayo Sensai outlined an ideal vision of hygienic modernity for Japan. Eisei shinron renames the relationship between the natural world and the human body using the vocabularies of chemistry, physiology, and anatomy. Eisei implied that national survival was the ultimate purpose of disease prevention. Zhibao would not be unique in the turn-of-the-century world for maintaining conflicting views on the etiology of cholera. In the twentieth century, eisei as hygienic modernity would become a foundational element in the creation of the Japanese empire.

Keywords: hygienic modernity; eisei; Meiji Japan; weisheng; health; Europe; Nagayo Sensai; Zhibao

Chapter.  12043 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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