2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

Segregation and Research: Rakuseiin Hospital and Leprosy Research in Colonial Taiwan

Wen-ji Wang

Institute of Science, Technology, and Society, National Yang Ming University

Pei-ying Wang

Institute of History, National Tsing Hua University

There has been growing historical interest in colonial leprosy work in the early twentieth-century, but the relationship between medical research and anti-leprosy work is yet to be systematically explored. The present study focuses on medical research conducted in the Governmental Rakuseiin Hospital in colonial Taiwan in order to examine the relationship between public health practice and scientific research. The compulsory segregation of a population of lepers in Taiwan made possible the mass production of scientific knowledge, the most characteristic and interesting feature of which was the study of leprosy in terms of race. This article argues that the content and function of this distinctive racial discourse can be understood by taking into account international research trends, the Japanese medical tradition, the development of Taiwanese colonial science, and the professional and social concerns of the colonial leprosy researchers.


Keywords: colonial medicine, Rakuseiin Hospital, leprosy, race, compulsory segregation