Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Volume 6, Number 6—December 2000

About the Cover

Japanese color woodcut print advertising the effectiveness of cowpox vaccine (circa 1850 A.D.)

Suggested citation for this article

Dr. Ryusai Kuwata (Bunka 8/1811-Keio 4/1868) . Japanese color woodcut print advertising the effectiveness of cowpox vaccine (circa Kaei 3/1850 A.D.). Reproduced with permission from the Nihon University Medical Library, Iidamachi, Tokyo.
Dr. Ryusai Kuwata (Bunka 8/1811-Keio 4/1868) . Japanese color woodcut print advertising the effectiveness of cowpox vaccine (circa Kaei 3/1850 A.D.). Reproduced with permission from the Nihon University Medical Library, Iidamachi, Tokyo.

In 1849, 18 years before the Meiji Revolution, cowpox vaccination was first successful in Nagasaki, which was the only city open to foreign visitors during the Tokunaga Era. This method became widespread throughout Japan. Dr. Ryusai Kuwata (Bunka 8/1811-Keio 4/1868) from Edo (modern Tokyo) made this color woodcut print to advertise the effectiveness of the vaccination to protect against smallpox; he used this picture at the Osaka Vaccination Clinic. The white cow in the print represents vaccination.

It was known that among persons and families who tended cows, the clinical signs of smallpox were never serious. Following this clue, Dr. Kuwata tried vaccinating children with the contents of eruptions from cowpox. As the result, the children's illness was mild and not transmitted to others. Dr. Kuwata, who was the pioneer of vaccination in Japan, vaccinated more than 70,000 people. He died with a vaccination needle in his hand in 1868, when he was 58 years old.

*">

Front cover and text translation*

Use of Vaccine Has Spread from Osaka to Edo (Tokyo) for the Benefit of Mankind

I wonder who in the world named Smallpox a God? It is no more than a demon that deviated from the path of mankind.

There are approximately five ways of treating smallpox; one is called the vaccinia method. In the 1790s, a Dutchman [sic] named Edward Jenner announced this method. It is said that when this method was first used, a vaccine made from cow's blood was directly injected into patients. It was quite astonishing that this vaccine, which was made from blood drawn from cow udders and was used on children, cured smallpox.

The first form of this vaccine was the Dutch form, but the Chinese form was used after 1806. The Chinese form is currently being used in Japan, but many forms and methods are used throughout the world. In this manner, vaccination has become a method of treating smallpox.

We began using the Dutch form of the vaccine in the latter half of the 1800s. Thanks to the patronage of our loyal customers, the use of our vaccine has spread widely.

[Translator's note: At the end of this advertisement, there is a poem, the gist of which is, "Parents should do whatever they can to ensure the well-being of their children."]

*">

Back cover and text translation*

Translation of the image that appears on back cover.
Translation of the image that appears on back cover.
What You Should Know about Vaccinations
  • Babies should be vaccinated on the 70th day after birth, regardless of the season. However, babies may be vaccinated sooner if an outbreak of smallpox has already occurred nearby.

  • After receiving the vaccine, patients should not become infected with smallpox, but patients who come into contact with the smallpox virus before being vaccinated should provide a vaccination document that states "smallpox" and "vaccine" to the physician within 10 days after the vaccination.

  • If patients become infected with another disease during the vaccination period, they should, at their own responsibility, request to be examined by other physicians and receive medicine for the disease.

  • During the vaccination period, a patient may bathe every day in a bath of warm water up to the hips.

  • Patients must return to the original medical institution and undergo another examination 8 to 10 days after receiving the vaccination. If a patient fails to receive the second examination, the "vaccination complete" certificate will not be issued.

  • A person who has received the "vaccination complete" certificate must be vaccinated again 6 years later and must receive a third vaccination 6 years after that. In either case, the patient must have a physician confirm that the vaccination was successful; provided, however, that if an outbreak of smallpox occurs nearby during that period, another vaccination may be administered before the end of the 6-year period.

    *

    Cover text translation by Bonnie Mikami and Masahito Mikami

Suggested Citation for this Article: Japanese color woodcut print advertising the effectiveness of cowpox vaccine (circa 1850 A.D.) [about the cover]. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2000 Dec [date cited]. Available from: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/6/6/ac-0606

DOI: 10.3201/eid0606.AC0606

Table of Contents – Volume 6, Number 6—December 2000

Comments to the EID Editors

Please contact the EID Editors via our Contact Form.

TOP