Ryoan Nakamura and Japan’s First Vaccinations

         Smallpox was one of the most terrifying epidemics during the Edo period. In the middle of the 18th century, Japan acquired a method for immunizing against smallpox through vaccinations. However, there were safety problems with the vaccinations around that time.
         In 1796, the method for safely vaccinating using the cowpox virus was discovered in a Western country. The Saga domain first tried this method in 1849. This was the beginning of the spread of smallpox vaccinations using the cowpox vaccination method.
         That being said, Shigeyoshi Nabeshima’s doctor, Ryoan Nakamura, actually attempted to use this method to vaccinate Shigeyoshi’s son, Shigeharu, in 1837.

Vaccination law

SyutouHousoku (Vaccination law)
Edo period, dated 1849, Takeo City Possession

Vaccination tools

Vaccination tools
Meiji period, 19th century, Takeo City Possession



map of hizen
Copyright (C) Takeo City Library&Historical Museum