Rangaku Juku (Institute for Dutch Studies) (蘭学塾)

Rangaku Juku is a kind of gakumonjo (school), spread as a private school in the Edo period, to learn Western studies. As a place to study western learning (蘭学, Rangaku), it was used to teach western medicine and astronomy mainly in the beginning; chemistry, physics, and western architectonics additionally in the later years, and took a large roll in the modernization of Japan.

In the Edo period, the studies of Europe (western medicine, chemistry, physics) mean the western learning (蘭学, Rangaku), because in the period of national isolation, Netherlands was the only trading partner for Japan with the exception of Qing (current People's Republic of China).
Many of the western books came to Japan through the Netherlands (阿蘭陀, Oranda) and were called the books of the Netherlands, '蘭書 (Ransho),' and those western studies from the other parts of Europe were also called the learning of the Netherlands, '蘭学 (Rangaku).'

Although western learning had been banned by the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun), which was concerning about the effect of Christianity, at the earliest stage of the commerce between the West, the ban was lifted as a part of the reformation in the period of Yoshimune TOKUGAWA, the 8th seii taishogun (literally, great general who subdues the barbarians) and the history of Rangaku in Japan was started.
However, after the ban that had continued about 100 years in Japan, even the translators in Nagasaki could not read and write Dutch, and under the circumstance in which only one mistake could lead to Seppuku (suicide by disembowelment), the translators were unenterprising about dissemination of western learning (they also thought western learning would diminish the value of translators.)
Also in the desperately-needed medical field, only some translators, trained by the doctors working for the Dutch trading houses in Dejima, put out schools that brought down a branch of medical science, a blending of Japanese and western styles of medical techniques, called Koumougeka (紅毛外科) (red hair surgery) by heredity, and although the Edo bakufu called on some Chinese classical literary people such as Genjo NORO and Konyo AOKI to solve the issue, they could only wrote down some 700 words.

The book of medicine, "Kaitai Shinsho (New Book of Anatomy)," published 50 years after the lifting of the ban, salvaged the situation. The doctors such as Ryotaku MAENO and Genpaku SUGITA succeeded to translate the western book of medicine, "Ontleedkundige Tafelen" by self-study. Before that, even though the ban had been lifted, if they acted openly they could be considered as ones with traitorous intention against the Edo bakufu and immediately subjected to penalties. However, because of the success, many disciples gathered to study with Genpaku SUGITA, and with the need of a private school for their training, Rangakujuku, 'Tenshinro (天真楼)' was established.

Gentaku OTSUKI, one of the disciples of Ryotaku MAENO and Genpaku SUGITA, established a private school called 'Shirando (芝蘭堂)' after finished studying in 'Tenshinro.'
Many Rangakujuku were established from those Rangakujuku (Tenshinro, Shirando) in the late Edo period when people were anxious to bring in knowledge of overseas
In particular, Keiogijuku University originated in a Rangakujuku and the word 'Juku' still means the university because of this fact.

Main Rangakujuku

Shirando in Edo established by Gentaku OTSUKI.

Tekijuku in Osaka established by Koan OGATA

Narutakijuku in Nagasaki established by Philipp Franz von Siebold

[Original Japanese]