Irako Dogyu (伊良子道牛)

Dogyu IRAKO (January 29, 1672 – February 15, 1734) was a surgeon of the Edo period. His imina (a personal name) was Kozai, his family name was Dogyu, and his alias was Muitsu or Kendosai. He studied Dutch-style medicine and developed his own medical science blended with Eastern medicine.

The Irako clan is said to be a branch of the Kai-Genji clan and called themselves the Akiyama clan up to the Muromachi period. At the end of the Sengoku (Warring States) period (Japan) they lived in Irako Village, Atsumi County, Mikawa Province (present Tahara City of Aichi Prefecture), so they changed their family name to IRAKO. Thereafter, the IRAKO family moved to Dewa Province and became vassals of the Mogami clan, producing many senior vassals of the clan such as Sogyu IRAKO and Danjo IRAKO, and so on. Dogyu's father Sadanosuke also became a vassal of Mitsutaka OYAMA, the sixth son of Yoshiaki MOGAMI, but later suffered kaieki (to forfeit rank of samurai and their properties) of the Mogami family, when his lord Mitsutaka was taken under custody of Tadayo SAKAI. Becoming a ronin (a masterless samurai), Sadanosuke headed for Kumamoto, relying on Yoshiaki's younger brother Mitsunao TATEOKA who had also been taken under custody of Kumamoto Domain, and served the Hosokawa clan.

Encounter with Western medicine
Moving to Kyushu along with his father, Dogyu was driven into admiration for Western learning, partially because he came nearer to Nagasaki which was the only place to contact with Western civilization at that time. Dogyu, fulfilled with his deepest desire, went to Nagasaki in 1686 and had an opportunity to learn 'Caspar-style red-haired surgery' which had been spread by Schamberger CASPAR, a medical officer to the captain of the Dutch trading house. Then Dogyu was 16 years old.

Establishment of 'IRAKO-style surgery' through blending with Eastern medicine
Thereafter, Dogyu established his own semi-Western-style surgery in which advantages of Western medicine he studied in Nagasaki and Eastern medicine which had been handed down since ancient times in Japan were successfully blended.

Moving to Fushimi, Kii County, Yamashiro Province (present Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City), Dogyu opened a medical practice there in 1701. It is said that he earned such fame for his proper treatment both in traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine that patients gathered not only inside and outside Kyoto but also neighboring provinces.

On February 15, 1734, Dogyu, as he had been ill, passed away at the age of 64. His tomb was built in Ryusen-ji Temple, Momoyama Sengokudani, Fushimi Ward, whose tombstone had epitaph chosen by Togai ITO who had been close to him while alive, but it was destroyed due to construction of Nara Railway Line in the Meiji period and does not exist now.

Successors and pupils
Although Dogyu had two sons and one daughter between his first wife, a certain MORIMURA, all of them died young and were succeeded by Yoshikado who had been born between Kiyo YAMAGAWA, his second wife. Mitsuaki IRAKO, a son of Yoshikado, ranked among Takiguchi no musha (samurai guards of the Imperial Residence) and granted an official rank of Shorokuinoge (Senior Sixth Rank, Lower Grade) Nagato no Kami (a deputy minister in charge of regional administration in Nagato). Also Mitsuaki's adopted son Mitsumichi was employed at Tenyakuryo (the Bureau of Medicine) and allowed to give Emperor Ninko medical examination. After Mitsuaki's days were over, the Irako family was divided in two family lines (Kendosai and Sen no do) but the both families succeeded to Irako-style surgery, and till they encountered the Meiji Restoration in the days of Mitsuoki IRAKO and Mitsunobu IRAKO, respectively, they had served chotei (the Imperial Court) as goteni (a doctor who is hired by bakufu [Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun] or daimyo [a feudal lord]).

Besides, not only patients but also many pupils, one of which Kensui YAMATO later became a mentor of Seishu HANAOKA, gathered around Dogyu. That means Seishu is a second-generation pupil of Dogyu.

[Original Japanese]