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Center Hospital > About Us > History > Following in Dr. Matsumoto’s footsteps

Following in Dr. Matsumoto’s footsteps
At the dawn of medical science in Japan

  • Matsumoto Jun (Ryōjun) was born in Azabu, Edo in 1832. He was the son of Sato Taizen, the founder of Juntendo University. In the last years of the feudal period, he briefly studied medicine at Juntendo Medical Institute, which was built by his father, in present-day Chiba Prefecture, before moving to Nagasaki to study rangaku (Western studies) and Western medicine under the famous Dutch physician J. L. C. Pompe van Meerdervoort. In 1862, Matsumoto became the shōgun’s doctor, and then head of the medical institute the following year. He was one of the good friends with swordsman Kondo Isami, and was responsible for the Shinsengumi’s medical care.
  • He became the court physician of shōgun Tokugawa Iemochi in 1864, and served in the Boshin War as the shogunate’s army doctor in 1868. He also served in the Ōu-Aizu War but surrendered and was imprisoned. Later, he was granted amnesty, and in 1871, he started working for the Ministry of the Military. There, he became the founding director of the army hospital (currently, the NCGM).
  • Matsumoto also proposed the construction of a seawater bath in Ōiso, Kanagawa Prefecture, and wrote “On Seawater Bathing” to promote the practice of sea bathing*1. He also popularized bathing in the hot springs of Yudanaka, Nagano Prefecture. Aside from his enthusiasm for sea bathing, he also learned the health benefits of milk, and spurred public interest in the beverage by calling then-famous actor Sawamura Tanosuke and geishas to try it. Together with his uncle-in-law Sakagawa Tōsei, Matsumoto opened the Sakagawa Dairy Store and instructed customers to drink milk*2.
  1. http://www.jacar.go.jp/seikatsu-bunka/p02.html
  2. Source: “Prominent People of Minato City”
*Some of the patients’ files from the late Meiji period are on display in the exhibition room.