Eighteenth- Century Dialogues between Korean and Japanese Medicine
Dr. Daniel Trambaiolo
During the Edo period (1603–1868), Japanese doctors generally learned about the medical ideas of their counterparts elsewhere in East Asia only through the medium of imported books, and there were few circumstances under which they could meet directly with foreigners. The journeys of Korean doctors who travelled to Edo in the entourage of Korean diplomatic embassies thus presented an unusual opportunity to discuss medical topics with doctors from outside Japan who were intimately familiar with traditional forms of East Asian medicine. Japanese doctors hoped to learn from the visiting Koreans about topics ranging from their interpretations of the Chinese medical classics to their methods of processing valuable drugs such as ginseng. However, a divergence between Japanese and Korean medical cultures over the course of the eighteenth century meant that both sides experienced increasing frustration in their attempts to engage in dialogue.