Kyūyō, Appendix Vol. IV, No. 158: In 1851 a new vaccination method was established and used by all people.

Since ancient times, the method of blowing dried smallpox scabs up the nose was used in all cases against contagion with smallpox. Coming the year 1851, Uku Pēchin Kijin 宇久親雲上紀仁 of the Matsu-clan 松氏 practiced a new smallpox vaccination method. He made rounds in the villages such as Tomari, Naha, and the Chinese encampment [= Kume] and inoculated small children with this method. Compared to blowing dried smallpox scabs up the nose, with this new method there were extremely less pustules. Later this method of  blowing dried smallpox scabs up the nose was abandonded.

Moreover, more recently it was heard that in the previous year in Japan a smallpox vaccination method was used, and that all little children were in good health. Tokashiki Pēchin Tsūki 渡嘉敷親雲上通起 of the Ro-clan 呂氏 saw this method in Satsuma and studied it. When this Tokashiki returned after his studies, all people were ordered to use this smallpox vaccination method.


Notes: As regards the import of smallpox vaccination methods to Ryūkyū, first, a method was imported in 1837 by the US American physician Peter Parker, the first medical missionary to China, who stopped at Naha harbor on board of the Morrison. During this visit, Parker vaccinated Okinawans with the smallpox vaccine. Back in China and some years later, Parker met with Bettelheim (1811–70), who was the second person who brought a vaccination method to Ryūkyū.

Nakachi Kijin -- als known as Uku Pēchin Kijin of the Matsu-clan -- and a helper on the 120 years anniversary stamp issued in 1968.

Nakachi Kijin — als known as Uku Pēchin Kijin of the Matsu-clan — and a helper on the 120 years anniversary stamp issued in 1968.

Bettelheim came to Ryūkyū in 1846 as a Protestant evangelist, but he was also a physician. In 1849 Bettelheim offered to vaccinate the Ryūkyūans but this was refused by the Ryūkyū government which had prohibited people to get in contact with Bettelheim. For this reason, Bettelheim secretly instructed Nakachi Kijin 仲地紀仁 in Western medicine, as well as in how to prepare and use the vaccination method using bovine smallpox pustules, which he successfully used in 1848.

In 1950 George Smith, the Lord Bishop of Victoria, brought vaccine from Hong Kong which – together with instructional pamphlets prepared by Bettelheim – was used in 1851, the date of the above described article of the Kyūyō. Bettelheim also instructed Makishi Chōchō (1818–62) in his method and noted that the mild course of the disease in 1851 was due to the new methods he had taught.

BTW, the person Nakachi Kijin is noone else but Uku Pēchin Kijin of the Matsu-clan mentioned in above-described article of the Kyūyō. Neither in this Kyūyō article nor in connection with the Nakachi Kijin 120 years anniversary stamp issued in 1968, no credit was given to Bettelheim whatsoever.

To continue, the person Tokashiki Tsūki also mentioned in above-described article was the son of Shuri-born physician and medicinal herbs doctor Tokashiki Pēchin Tsūkan 渡嘉敷親雲上通寛 (1794-1849). In 1817, as a young man Tsūkan went to China and studied Chinese dietary medicine in Beijing. After returning home he became the chief court physician of the Ryūkyū king. In 1824 he went again to Beijing to study and learned the treatment of mental illness. Afterwards he continued to serve the royal family.

In 1832 Tokashiki authored the book “Diet and medicinal herbs,” which is considered an important document about the dietary remedies of Ryūkyū.

© 2016, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.

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