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Yakushigaku Zasshi. 1995;30(1):1-10.

[Historical sketch of modern pharmaceutical science and technology (Part 3). From the second half of the 19th century to World War II].

[Article in Japanese]

Author information

Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Science University of Tokyo.


The history of modern pharmaceutical science and technology, from the second half of the 19th century to the end of World War II, is divided into nine sections for the purpose of discussion. 1. The European medical and pharmaceutical science and technology at the end of the 19th century is reviewed. Pharmacology, bacteriology and biochemistry were built in this period. 2. The Meiji Government accepted Western medicine and medical law and regulations in 1883. Consequently, the Japanese physician changed from Eastern (Kanpooi) to Western (Seiyooi). 3. Modern scientific and engineering education had been accepted in America, England, Germany, and France etc. Foreign scientists and engineers (Oyatoi-gai-kokujin) were educated by practice and theory. The Faculty of Engineering was established in the universities in Japan. This fact is one of the differences in the history of universities in Europe and America. 4. Pharmaceutical education in the Meiji period (1873-1911). Twenty-nine schools of pharmacy were built in this period. However, 20 schools of pharmacy had been closed. Pharmacy and pharmaceutical industry was not established in the Meiji era. 5. The profession of pharmacist in 1873-1944. The policy of medicine was changed by the Meiji Government in 1889, when Western physicians were allowed to prepare medicines for patients, and this practice continues today. Political and technological power of Japanese pharmacists was weak, so their role was not estimated. 6. Consequences of world War I, and the establishment of the pharmaceutical industry. The Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) and Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) were won fortunately. The first pharmaceutical company was established in 1885. At this times, many pharmaceutical manufacturing companies, which were converted from whole sale merchants, were built. Then started the manufacturing of commercial drugs. 7. Hygienic chemistry and some problems of public hygiene. The causes of diseses unique to Japan, such as beriberi (Katuke), were searched for in medical and agricultural laboratories. Dr. Suzuki discovered olizanine from rice bran, which was effective for deficiency of vitamin B1 disease. However, pharmaceutical scientists did not participate in this research. Hygienic and forensic chemistry were included in pharmaceutical departments. 8. Pharmaceutical scientific studies in Europe and Japan in the first half of the 20th century. The discovery of a drug for the treatment of syphilis by Ehrlich-Hata (1889), then chemotherapeutics were started. Adrenalin, the first isolated hormone, by Takamine (1900), after this time many hormones were discovered. The first Japanese pharmacists who studied abroad studied in Germany and came back to Japan. Then, they built the pharmaceutical sciences. Studies on natural products by chemistry and organic chemistry were started. 9. Pharmaceutical scientific and technology during 15 Years of War (1931-45). Since 1930, theoretical organic chemistry was developed in England and America. The discovery of chemotherapeutics and antibiotics (sulfonamides and penicillin) and studies on some vitamins and hormones proceeded during the 15 years of war (1931-45) at Tokyo and Kyoto Universities, and some institutes in China and Manchuria. Studies on anti-maralia, sulfonamides and penicillins were carried out.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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