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22 Apr 2012

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- Chujoto = name of a patent medicine that was sold in the beginning in 1893
o Promoted female reproductive health; eased the discomfort of
pregnancy and childbirth; alleviated menstrual difficulties and uterine
o Among the most heavily advertised of the many patent medicines on
the market at the time
o Appeared in newspapers, magazines, handbills, posters, billboards
o Company’s trademark: image of Chujo princess
- medical ads of Meiji and Taisho Japan > capable of eliciting a welter of
associations associations that point to the complex and evolving
relationship among the state’s vision of the bodies of its citizens, commodity
culture and modern subjecthood
- mid 17C > patent medicines became an important part of Jap medical culture;
wide varieties of remedies available in cities, towns, streets, markets, fairs
- kusuriya = medicine shops
- Shinkyogan > remedy for intestinal problems produced in Shiga Province,
prized as a souvenir by travelers on the Omi Highway
- Patent medicine ads first appeared 1680s (same time for kimono fabrics
- Ads for patent drugs differed from those of other retail products:
o They were comparatively dense with text (lengthy descriptions of the
origin of the drug, symptoms for which is was effective, directions for
o Txt often centered on claims about the miraculous nature of the
medicine, the formula (usually a gift from a deity or heroic stature to
the ancestor)
o “secret family transmission = kanden hiyaku and divine gift
shinju > appear frequently and in enlarged lettering
- 19C ads were designed to entertain and amuse > made use of images by well-
known woodblock print artists and txt by popular writers of fiction
- Safe birth decoction = drug to prevent miscarriage and difficult childbirth
o Image: utagawa Toyokuni of a woman in courtesan attire holding the
product > humorous bc contrast reproducing body of wife
- early modern period > diff > the new culture of advertising (19C) >
propelled by the creation of new forms of print media such as (1.)
Newspapers 1860, (2.) magazines 1870, (3) woodblocks > printing press
o 1880s and 90s> advertisement newspapers, large billboards, roof of
buildings, transportation routes, telephone poles, streetcars, railway
o 1910: give-away goods > fans, calendars, paper ballons
- Jintan = pill > digestive aid and rejuvenator
- 19C = ads > public and private spaces
- first 2 make the new medium of the newspaper:
o Hotan = remedy for intestinal problems > cholera
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o Seikisui = eyewash
- Pioneered the development of marketing devices: illustrations, trademarks,
slogans, testimonials, large signs
- 1880s ads for patent medicines occupied more newspace than any other
product more than 50%
- ranked 2nd it total # of ads: patent medicines
- 1870s : new government of the emperor Meiji > policy goal = improving the
health of its citizens > aggressively pursued the construction of a modern
medical and public health system
- In Japan (unlike Europe) governmental concern about health emerged b4
industrialization and in response to the perceived threat of European
o The forced opening of the country in the 1850s had brought not only
political and economic turmoil but also an epidemiological crisis
(cholera and other acute infectious diseases were introduced to Japan,
sparking a series of devastating epidemics
o Government policy came to be oriented around the notion tht the
improvement of health was necessary to create the large and healthy
population that would make Japan a prosperous and powerful nation
capable of resisting the European powers
- Meiji govermnet sought to exercise authority over medical knowledge,
practices and institutions.
o New med schools and system of state licensing led to the promotion of
so-called Western medicine over traditional forms of medical practice
o Well established forms like acupuncture, moxibustion and massage >
regarded as ineffective or overtly dangerous in contrast with scientific
medical practices
o Individual physicians were charged with reporting cases of infectious
disease to the local police, and quarantine hospitals were created for
those struck down by acute infectious diseases; lock hospitals = house
prostitutes (had syphilis) asylums for the mad, leprosy
o Government campaign addressed individual behavior: eat bread,
drink milk, adopt western haristyles, clothes, use soap, toothpaste,
cease the blackening of teeth > promote health and hygiene
- health = requirement for full participation in national culture
- patent medicine underwent a reevaluation > 1870 Meiji government
promulgated the Rules for the Regulation of Patent Drugs
o responsible for inspecting the formulas to determine if they were
effective and whether the retail price of a given drug was reasonable
in relation to the cost of its production
o forbidden reference to deities within ads and the use of terms such as
secret family transmission and secret formula
o intent of this law > to bring an end to the trade in patent drugs, most
of which were based on medical theories that were chinese or
indigenous in origin
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- this ambitious law proved unworkable when it became clear that the staff
was unable to deal with the overwhelming # of drugs to be examined;
canceled in 1872
- 1875 government abandoned the principle that patent drugs be
demonstrably effective and stipulated that harmlessness
- 1877 new law = Regulations for Patent Drugs
o Defining patent drug as any medicine whether in form of pill, slave,
liquid, powder, infusion which is made according to a secret family
o Required producers pay a tax of 2 yen per year for each formula they
o Established licensing fees for retail shops and medicine peddlers
o 1882 > strategy of taxing the manufacture and sale of patent drugs
was affirmed
- taxing the patent medicine industry > Meiji government had 2 aims: (1)
sought to reduce the influence of what it viewed as illegitimate forms of
health care (2) while simultaneously promoting the new state-authorized
medical system
- Fukuzawa Yukichi = journalist > waste of resources > useless pills/potions
o Newspaper became lantern carriers for patent medicine makers
o ^ reveals controversial nature of these products and the fact that ads
were influencing consumer choice
- ads: established an intimate connection with the body by laying claim to the
ability to render it healthy, clean and attractive (qualities that found new
meaning within modernizing societies as national or ethnic superiority)
o implicated medicines and hygiene products in the enactment and
reproduction of notions of social hierarchy, gender, race, and other
markers of identity and difference, bc their ads necessarily drew upon
cultural and social raw material
- Lears: commercial language of advertising was a site that preserved leftovers
of the older conception of the body that was challenged by an increasingly
impersonal and technologically oriented medical culture
- All ads: suggested good health could be attained quickly, safely and privately
through self-medication, circumventing the need to consult a doc or visit a
- Dokumetstu = syphilis treatment
- Nogan = remedy for brain disease
- Dokumetsu, Nogan, Chujoto, Jintan = most visible of all ads/most visually
complex; regarded as exemplary rather than typical
- Chujoto and Herupu = help = remedy for intestinal problems
- Chujoto handbills: middle class family, consisting of a young hubby and wife,
6 children and an older woman (hubby mothers)> site seeing to a modern
o Background: steam locomotive, factory, steamer
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