Eugenics, environment, and acclimatizing to Manchukuo: psychiatric studies of Japanese colonists.
Nihon ishigaku zasshi. [Journal of Japanese history of medicine] 2010 Sep; 56(3): 329-50
Both the advocates and critics of what has been called "the new imperial history," which may be characterized by its focus on how colonies were not simply influenced by but also exercised an influence on a dominating foreign state, have inspired this article. The article addresses the production and dissemination of medical knowledge in its examination of psychiatric research conducted in the 1930s in Japan's unofficial colony of Manchukuo. It highlights the political dimension of studies of psychosomatic disorders, syphilis, and alcoholism among colonists by placing it in the context of contending theories of racial improvement and growing official support for mass migration, especially to northeast China. Moreover, it inquires into restrictions on the flow of ideas from the colonies by examining how these studies were received in Japan. While interest in the colonies ensured that psychiatrists in Manchukuo were able to publish their research in leading Japanese medical journals, their findings jeopardized too many political and professional interests to become more public. In much-publicized debates stimulated by the impeding establishment of eugenic sterilization legislation, their colleagues in Japan in the late 1930s who championed the argument of environment over heredity were conspicuously silent about conditions among Japanese colonists, using instead examples of European and North American colonists to make their case.
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