Japanese, International Migrants, and Cholera in the Yokohama Treaty Port, 1859–1899

  • Chester J. Proshan


The chapter is a case study on epidemic disease, everyday life, and Western Empire in nineteenth century Asia. The impact of cholera on the everyday in the Yokohama Treaty Port is examined. Four epidemics are addressed: 1862, 1877, 1879, and 1886. As major threats to public health, the four cholera outbreaks exacerbated and contested the already problematised nexus of daily life in the quasi-colonial setting. Conflicted relations between Japanese and the encroaching treaty powers and competition among the powers themselves presented the context in which the local population engaged cholera. The disease was met within a framework of pronounced particularistic divisions—economic, political, and racial. Cholera, at one and the same time, reinforced community norms and generated striking changes in thinking and behaviour.



Department of State, Despatches from US Consuls in Kanagawa, 1861–1897, File Microcopies No. 135.


Department of State, Despatches from US Ministers to Japan, 6 January 1886–9 July 1886, File Microcopies No. 133.


Japan Weekly Mail.


North-China Herald and Supreme Court and Consular Gazette.


Department of State, Records of the United States Legation in Japan, 1855–1912, Notes from the Japanese Foreign Office, 1 July–31 December 1862, Microcopy No. T-400.


『横浜毎日新聞』Yokohama Daily News.


  1. A Brief Review of the Operations of the Home Department in Connection with the Cholera Epidemic of the 19th Year of Meiji, 1886.
  2. Baelz, Toku, ed. Awakening Japan: The Diary of a German Doctor: Erwin Baelz. New York: Viking Press, 1932.Google Scholar
  3. Bennett, Terry. Japan and “The Illustrated London News”: Complete Record of Reported Events, 1853–1899. Folkstone: Global Oriental, 2006.Google Scholar
  4. Black, John. Young Japan: Yokohama and Yedo, 1858–79. Tokyo: Oxford University Press, 1968.Google Scholar
  5. Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 99 (July–December 1878): 196.
  6. British Medical Journal.
  7. Brownell, Clarence Ludlow. The Heart of Japan: Glimpses of Life and Nature Far from the Travellers’ Track in the Land of the Rising Sun. London: Methuen, n.d.Google Scholar
  8. Cassel, Pär Kristoffer. Grounds of Judgement: Extraterritoriality and Imperial Power in Nineteenth-Century China and Japan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.Google Scholar
  9. Cooper, Frederick. Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.
  10. Cortazzi, Hugh. Dr Willis in Japan: British Medical Pioneer. London: Athlone, 1985a.Google Scholar
  11. ———, ed. Mitford’s Japan: The Memoirs and Recollections, 1866–1906, of Algernon Bertram Mitford, the First Lord Redesdale. London: Athlone Press, 1985b.Google Scholar
  12. Department of State. Despatches from United States Consuls in Kanagawa, 1861–1897. File Microcopies No. 135.Google Scholar
  13. ———. Despatches from United States Ministers to Japan , January 6, 1886–July 9, 1886. File Microcopies No. 133.Google Scholar
  14. ———. Records of the United States Legation in Japan, 1855–1912, Notes from the Japanese Foreign Office, July 1–December 31, 1862. Microcopy No. T-400.Google Scholar
  15. Eldridge, Stewart. “History of the Establishment and Growth of the Quarantine System in Japan.” Annual Report of the Supervising Surgeon-General of the Marine-Hospital Service for the United States, Fiscal Year 1896. 450–454. Washington, DC, Government Printing Office, 1896.Google Scholar
  16. Eldridge, Stuart. “Notes on the Diseases Affecting European Residents in Japan, upon the Basis of All Available Statistics.” China Imperial Maritime Customs Medical Reports, Special Series, no. 2, 15th Issue. 48–80. Shanghai, Statistical Department of the Inspectorate General, 1878.Google Scholar
  17. ———. “Report of Transactions at Yokohama, Japan.” Annual Report of the Supervising Surgeon-General of the Marine-Hospital Service for the United States, Fiscal Year 1899. 557–565. Washington, DC, Government Printing Office, 1901.
  18. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 24. New York: Henry Allen, 1890.
  19. Foreign Office. British Foreign Office: Japan Correspondence. F. O. 46.Google Scholar
  20. Fuess, Harald. “Informal Imperialism and the 1879 Hesperia Incident: Containing Cholera and Challenging Extraterritoriality in Japan.” Japan Review 27, 2014: 103–140.Google Scholar
  21. Gartlan, Luke. “Samuel Cocking and the Rise of Japanese Photography.” History of Photography 33, May 2009: 145–164.
  22. Gordon, C. A. An Epitome of the Reports of the Medical Officers to the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs Service, 1871–1882. London: Baillière, Tindall, and Cox, 1884.
  23. Gramlich-Oka, Bettina. “The Body Economic: Japan’s Cholera Epidemic of 1858 in Popular Discourse.” EASM 30, 2009: 32–73.
  24. Hamlin, Christopher. Cholera: The Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.
  25. Hammersmith, Jack. Spoilsmen in a “Flowery Fairyland”: The Development of the U.S. Legation in Japan, 1859–1906. Kent: Kent State University Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  26. Hoare, J. E. Japan’s Treaty Ports and Foreign Settlements: The Uninvited Guests, 1858–1899. Sandgate: Japan Library, 1994.Google Scholar
  27. Hora, Tomio. British Parliamentary Papers Relating to Japan, Addenda. Vols. 1–2. n.p.: Yushodo, 1973.Google Scholar
  28. Ichikawa, Tomoo.「近代日本の開港場における伝染病流行と外国人居留地―1879年『神奈川県地方衛生会』によるコレラ対策―」 [Infectious Diseases and Foreign Settlements in the Japanese Treaty Ports: The 1879 Cholera Epidemic at Yokohama] Shigaku-Zasshi 117, June 2008: 1–38.Google Scholar
  29. Ion, A. Hamish. “Sexual Imperialism on the China Station During the Meiji Restoration: The Control of Smallpox and Syphilis at Yokohama, 1868–1871.” The International History Review 31, December 2009: 711–739.
  30. Irish University Press Area Studies Series, British Parliamentary Papers, Japan, Embassy and Consular Commercial Reports. Vol. 9. 1892–96. Shannon: Irish University Press, 1971.Google Scholar
  31. Japan Directory. Vol. 1. Tokyo: Yumani Shoboh, 1996.Google Scholar
  32. Japan Herald.Google Scholar
  33. Japan Times’ Overland Mail.Google Scholar
  34. Japan Weekly Mail. Part 7: 1900–1903. Tokyo: Edition Synapse, 2011.Google Scholar
  35. ———. Reprint Series I: 1870–1899. Part 1: 1870–1874. Tokyo: Edition Synapse, 2005.Google Scholar
  36. ———. Reprint Series I: 1870–1899. Part 2: 1875–1879. Tokyo: Edition Synapse, 2006a.Google Scholar
  37. ———. Reprint Series I: 1870–1899. Part 3: 1880–1884. Tokyo: Edition Synapse, 2006b.Google Scholar
  38. ———. Reprint Series I: 1870–1899. Part 4: 1885–1889. Tokyo: Edition Synapse, 2006c.Google Scholar
  39. Johnson, Ryan, and Amna Khalid. Public Health in the British Empire: Intermediaries, Subordinates, and the Practice of Public Health, 1850–1960. New York: Routledge, 2012.Google Scholar
  40. Johnston, William. “Buddhism Contra Cholera: How the Meiji State Recruited Religion Against Epidemic Disease.” In Science, Technology, and Medicine in the Modern Japanese Empire, edited by David Wittner and Philip Brown, 62–78. London: Routledge, 2016.Google Scholar
  41. ———. “Epidemics Past and Science Present: An Approach to Cholera in Nineteenth-Century Japan.” Harvard Asia Quarterly 14, 2012: 28–35.Google Scholar
  42. ———. “The Shifting Epistemological Foundations of Cholera Control in Japan (1822–1900).” Extrême-Orient, Extrême-Occident 37, 2014: 171–196.Google Scholar
  43. Kato, Yuzo, ed. Yokohama: Past and Present. Yokohama: Yokohama City University, 1990.Google Scholar
  44. Kim, Hoi-Eun. Doctors of Empire: Medical and Cultural Encounters Between Imperial Germany and Meiji Japan. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014.Google Scholar
  45. Kim, Jeong-Ran. “The Borderline of ‘Empire’: Japanese Maritime Quarantine in Busan c. 1876–1910.” Medical History 57 (2013): 226–248.
  46. Kobayashi, Noriyoshi. “American Missionaries in Yokohama.” Historical English Studies in Japan 18, 1986: 35–50.
  47. McShane, Angela, and Garthine Walker, eds. The Extraordinary and the Everyday in Early Modern England: Essays in Celebration of the Work of Bernard Capp. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.Google Scholar
  48. Morse, Edward. “Health-Matters in Japan.” Popular Science Monthly 12 (November 1877–April 1878): 280–286.
  49. Munson, Todd. “Imperialism and Infomedia in Bakumatsu Japan: The View from Treaty Port Yokohama.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 2004.Google Scholar
  50. Nakamura, Ellen Gardner. Practical Pursuits: Takano Chōei, Takahashi Keisaku, and Western Medicine in Nineteenth-Century Japan. Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center, 2005.Google Scholar
  51. Nakamura, Miri. “Monstrous Language: The Translation of Hygienic Discourse in Izumi Kyōka’s The Holy Man of Mount Koya.” In Translation in Modern Japan, edited by Indra Levy, 165–185. London: Routledge, 2011.Google Scholar
  52. New York Times.Google Scholar
  53. North-China Herald and Supreme Court and Consular Gazette.
  54. Notehelfer, F. G., ed. Japan Through American Eyes: The Journal of Francis Hall, Kanagawa and Yokohama, 1858–1866. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992.Google Scholar
  55. Otaki, Toshio.「神奈川のコレラ」 [Cholera Epidemics in Kanagawa] 『日本醫史學雑誌』 38, January 1992: 5–24.Google Scholar
  56. Padilla, Roberto. “When Precision Obscures: Disease Categories Related to Cholera during the Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895).” In Science, Technology, and Medicine in the Modern Japanese Empire, edited by David G. Wittner, Philip C Brown, 164–174. London: Routledge, 2016.Google Scholar
  57. Padilla, Roberto Ramon, II. “Science, Nurses, Physicians and Disease: The Role of Medicine in the Construction of a Modern Japanese Identity, 1868–1912.” PhD diss., Ohio State University, 2009.
  58. Papers Relating to the Foreign Relations of the United States Transmitted to Congress, with the Annual Message of the President, December 6, 1880. Vol. 38. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1880.Google Scholar
  59. Powell, Margaret, and Anesaki Masahira. Health Care in Japan. London: Routledge, 1990.Google Scholar
  60. Report of the Director of the Central Sanitary Bureau to H. E. the Minister of the Home Department on Choleraic Diseases in Japan, 1877.Google Scholar
  61. Report of the Director of the Central Sanitary Bureau to His Excellency, the Minister of the Home Department, upon Cholera in Japan, 1879.Google Scholar
  62. Rosenberg, Charles. The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.Google Scholar
  63. Rosenberg, Emily, ed. A World Connecting, 1870–1945. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012.Google Scholar
  64. San Francisco Call.
  65. Sanitary and Statistical Report of the Surgeon-General of the Navy for the Year 1879. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1881.
  66. Scidmore, Eliza. Jinrikisha Days in Japan. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1899.
  67. Shavit, David. The United States in Asia: A Historical Dictionary. New York: Greenwood Press, 1990.Google Scholar
  68. Simmons, D. B. “Cholera Epidemics in Japan, with a Monograph on the Influence of the Habits and Customs of Races on the Prevalence of Cholera.” China Imperial Maritime Customs Medical Reports, Special Series, no. 2, 18th issue. 1–30. Shanghai, Statistical Department of the Inspectorate General, 1880.Google Scholar
  69. Straits Times Overland Journal.
  70. Suzuki, Akihito, and Suzuki, Mika. “Cholera, Consumer and Citizenship: Modernisations of Medicine in Japan.” In The Development of Modern Medicine in Non-Western Countries: Historical Perspectives, edited by Hormoz Ebrahimnejad, 184–203. London: Routledge, 2009.Google Scholar
  71. Sydney Morning Herald.
  72. Tsukada, Kei, and Tsuchimoto, Toshikazu.「明治12年の戸別衛生検査―明治前期横浜における便所の改善に関する研究―」 [Sanitary Survey by House-to-House Visitation in 1879: A Study of Lavatories Improvement of Yokohama in the Early Meiji Era] 『日本建築学会計画系論文集』Journal of Architectural Planning 582, August 2004: 209–216.
  73. Waddington, Keir. An Introduction to the Social History of Medicine: Europe since 1500. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.Google Scholar
  74. Whitney, Willis Norton. “Notes on the History of Medical Progress in Japan.” Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan 12, 1885: 245–470.Google Scholar
  75. 『横浜毎日新聞』 [Yokohama Daily News].復刻版、東京、不二出版、1990.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chester J. Proshan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyToyo UniversityTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations