Abstract: Since the 1990s, Japan’s leprosy prevention policy has been the object of investigation by historians, journalists, and activists. The 1931 law that required the lifetime segregation of all those diagnosed with the disease was not repealed until 1996. This essay seeks to explore the origins of modern leprosy policy by examining the early Meiji discourse on leprosy that predated the involvement of the Japanese government. It argues that entrepreneurs who marketed leprosy “cures” and Meiji journalists who celebrated their efforts played an important role in defining attitudes toward this disease and thus contributed to the formation of a new biopolitics.
The Journal of Japanese Studies – Society for Japanese Studies
Published: Jul 14, 2012
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