Seiyiryakuron. 4 vols.
Publisher Information: Tokyo: 1858.
Hobson, Benjamin (1816-73). Seiyi-ryakuron [First lines of the practice of surgery in the west]. 4 vols. In Chinese with Japanese reading symbols. Tokyo: Yorozua Hyoshiro, 1858. Vol. I: 60 folded leaves plus 1 single leaf; text illustrations. Vol. II: 49 folded leaves; text illustrations. Vol. III: 62 folded leaves; text illustrations. Vol. IV: 22 folded leaves; text illustrations. 255 x 173 mm. Yellow embossed paper wrappers, printed labels (a little worn). Boxed. The last volume has a table of contents in English and Chinese.
First Japanese Edition. Benjamin Hobson was a British missionary doctor who spent two decades (1839-59) in China. He founded hospitals in Hong Kong, Guangdong and Shanghai; trained local physicians in Western medical techniques; and wrote four medical textbooks in Chinese based on European sources. "His works were highly regarded, and, in the words of one observer, served to 'transform China's native doctors into an intelligent, progressive, and scientific medical profession by furnishing them with a scientific background' . . . His texts were highly regarded by contemporary medical missionaries and they had a far-reaching impact on the introduction of Western medicine, not only in China but also in Japan" (Wong, p. 91). The second of these texts was the First Lines of the Practice of Surgery in the West (Xiyi luelun, 1857); the work was published in Japan one year later. "This treatise, besides showing the benefit of surgical education, sets forth the entire subject of surgical practice . . . Perhaps this work may be regarded as the best of the [Hobson] series, as it is certainly the most adapted for direct utility" (Wong and Wu, p. 365, note 310). The work contains hundreds of illustrations, and includes a list of medical prescriptions. At the end of the last volume is a table of contents and list of drug names in English and Chinese.
The Japanese versions of Hobson's works appeared during a critical time in Japanese history, the bakumatsu period (1853-67), when Japan ended its isolationist foreign policy and began opening its ports to Western trade. During this period, "Chinese translations of Western medical texts rendered a great service to Japan. First and foremost, this refers the Chinese-language editions of works by Benjamin Hobson" (Masuda, p. 3). Wong and Wu, note 310. Wong, "Local voluntarism: The medical mission of the London Missionary Society in Hong Kong, 1842-1923," in Hardiman, ed., Healing Bodies, Saving Souls: Medical Missions in Asia and Africa, pp. 87-113.Book Id: 42507