FuichiShinichi Honjo (本庄晋一)

Fuichi or Shinichi HONJO (1798 - November 22, 1846) was a rangakui (a doctor who studied Western sciences by means of the Dutch language) and literate who opened a medical practice in 本庄宿 (current Honjo City in Saitama Prefecture) in the late Edo period. His imina (personal name) was 俊篤 and azana (another name) was 士雅.


He was born as the second son of a doctor : Masatoshi HONJO of 本庄宿 and he studied in Edo under 保土田翠蘭 who was a doctor of the Numazu Domain aiming to become a doctor, after a while, he widely inquired into Japanese, Chinese and Dutch medicine and studied them further. He referred himself as "Shinichi" in 1823, because of his own challenge to save all patients by making a tour of various provinces and visiting noted doctors in each place to ask for instruction in medical treatment and secret medicine, therefore it is said that he named himself "Shinichi (kindle a light for all patients)." He copied out the drawing of an operation for breast cancer performed by Seishu HANAOKA. In around 1825, he went to Nagasaki to study Dutch medicine and treated 清人's eye disease by performing an operation which was a case Philipp Franz von Siebold were not able to deal with; as a result he gained nationwide fame as an eye doctor. acquiring the skill of 蘭漢折衷型医術, After returned to Honjo in around 1827 from his travel to Kyoto City, Kawagoe City and other places to treat patients, he opened departments of internal treatment, surgery and ophthalmology. While he was teaching of many disciples, he published "Ganka Kinno" in 1829 and "Zoku Ganka Kinno" in 1837 (These series of books became the bible of ophthalmology in 19th century). In addition to this, he also published "天狗堂脈論." He had a large circle of friends from Dutch scholars to Confusion scholars and maintained friendly relationship with a Confucian Hasan YOSHIKAWA of Oshi Domain since he traveled to study in Edo. He was also well versed in Chinese poem and Chinese passage. Because he was burned out by the great fire occurred in Honjo in February 1846, he had to rent a house in Yahata Town, Kodama District; however in the same year, he died at the age of 49 in November and then he was buried in Jogan-ji Temple in the same district. His adopted son 本庄俊圭 (1826 - year of death unknown) became a successor to his family as a doctor who was well versed in literature.

Since Toshiatsu HONJO used both titles: Shinichi and Fuichi, both writings are correct.

Although he had a great achievement in curing eye disease by the operation which was the case Siebold couldn't heal, there are few materials concerning Shinichi and he is one of the mysterious doctors.

Later he won a fame as an eye doctor, however, as it is comprehensible from the fact that he copied out "the drawing of an operation for breast cancer" performed by Seishu HANAOKA, he studied all fields of medical science under the policy "kindle a light for all patients."

In "Ganka Kinno," an anatomical drawing of eyeball and the names of each part such as cornea, crystalline humor, membrane of crystalline and optic nerve were seen and we can understand that he had the necessary knowledge of modern medicine (operation of eyeball) (in "Zoku Ganka Kinno," operation of eyeball was described). It can be said that this book is eyeball version of Kaitai Shinsho (the historic Japanese translation of a Dutch anatomical text).

[Original Japanese]