Introduction to Medicine or Satire on Doctors

Approaching the Protean Nature of Isha dangi

in East Asian Publishing and Society
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Abstract

This article aims to shed light on the multifarious relationship between medicine and literature in Tokugawa Japan (1603-1867) by focusing on a humorous-informative work of popular fiction entitled Yōjō kyōkun isha dangi (1759). Firstly, this essay provides an overview of Isha dangi explaining how medical knowledge is grafted onto narrative structure. Secondly, it analyses the didactic and entertaining aspects of this text and describes how Isha dangi was influenced both by works of comic literature and by instructive medical manuals produced during the Tokugawa period. In doing so, this study supports the hypothesis of genre hybridism in Japanese early-modern literature. Finally, using Isha dangi as a case study, this article takes into account issues of authorship and readership in medically-themed literary works.

Introduction to Medicine or Satire on Doctors

Approaching the Protean Nature of Isha dangi

in East Asian Publishing and Society

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13

See Fukuda‘Igakusho to yomimono to’5-6.

38

Fukuda‘Igakusho to yomimono to’5-6.

46

Fukuda‘Igakusho to yomimono to’5.

60

Nagashima HiroakiBungaku to kyōkun63.

61

Hibbett‘Ejima Kiseki (1667-1736) and his Katagi-mono’419 428.

66

ProppComicità e riso120-23.

70

See RapalloL’umorismo101.

73

HodgartSatire163-168. For an outline of the role played by satire and epigrams in Western characters’ books see also Boyce The Theophrastan character in England to 1642 93-111.

74

GriffinSatire: a critical reintroduction61.

82

Nagashima Hiroaki‘Bungaku to kyōkunsho’64-65.

84

Moretti‘On the edge of narrative’342.

85

Ibid.343.

86

See Fukuda‘Igakusho to yomimono to’7. He provides evidence from the preface of Shinnō hanagassen 神農花合戦 (1768).

87

See GerstleEdo onna no shungahon181-225.

88

See Fukuda‘Igakusho to yomimono to’8. Kōshokumankintan and Kōshokuhaidokusan are two works of popular fiction with titles that play with the word kōshoku (erotic libidinous) and the names of medicines mankintan (a kind of sedative) and haidokusan (against high fever) respectively.

93

Fukuda‘Igakusho to yomimono to’7-8. More information on this text and other similar works will be provided below.

102

See ShibataDaisō zōsho mokuroku to kenkyū669-71. In this group we can number several of the so-called dangibon and other instances of medically-themed literature namely Bokusai banashiChikusai ryōji no hyōbanKyōkun manbyō kaishun.

103

See Nagashima‘Kinsei shōetsu no janru o jūdan suru’; Nobuhiro and Nagashima ‘Taidan kinsei shōsetsu: janru ishiki o koete’; Kornicki ‘Narrative of a Catastrophe’359.

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