Friday, August 12, 2011

Site of Medical Institute, Part Deux



I ran a photo blog entry some time ago about the Edo-era medical institute that used to be in the area where Central Park (Chuu-ou Koen) is now. A few weeks later, I was on my way to the International Exchange Center (Kenmin Kaikan) down at the other end of the Reimeikan history building, to meet with some private English students, and I had brought my Holly and Wally Endtown papercraft figures along with to show them off. When I got to Central Park, I took a moment to snap some shots for a photo gag I wanted to create, and one of the shots was at the base of the memorial pictured above. Now, I'd walked past this memorial many times before without bothering to see what it was for, but this time since I was right in front of it I checked whether there was an English explanation. Not only was there English text, but the title was "Site of Medical Institute". I looked across the street, and there 30 feet from me was the other memorial sign. For some reason, the city decided that the original sign wasn't close enough to the site and erected a second one just to be safe, but using slightly different wording.

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"Site of Medical Institute
Shimadzu Shigehide, 25th lord of Satsuma, was a great advocate for civilizing and educating people. Following examples set by the clan schools of Zoshikan and Embukan, Shigehide established a Medical Institute to the southwest of these buildings in 1774.

The medical institute, which was based upon the Edo (Tokyo) Medical Institution, aimed at training medical doctors through lectures, group discussion and through the research of medicinal herbs. Samurai, from both the castle town, and the countrysides; foot soldiers; tradesmen; and merchants were also allowed to attend if they wished. Under the guidance of the institute's seven lecturers, there were as many as one hundred medical students studying. On the same site, a shrine for Shinno, a god for medicine and agriculture, was also established.

Shigehide encouraged the cultivation of medicinal herbs and operated herb gardens in Yamagawa, Sata and Yoshino (Kagoshima City). He made great efforts to publish books on herbs and natural history, thus making his contributions to the development of medicine.

Shigehide also established Meijikan, also known as Tenmonkan, to the southeast of the medical institute in 1779 to conduct astronomical observations and calendar making. This facility gave birth to the name of present-day downtown, Tenmonkan.

In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Kagoshima Daiichi Lions Club. (25, March, 2005)"





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