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Gender, Health, and History in Modern East Asia$
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Angela Ki Che Leung and Izumi Nakayama

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390908

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390908.001.0001

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The Japanese Patent Medicine Trade in East Asia

The Japanese Patent Medicine Trade in East Asia

Women’s Medicines and the Tensions of Empire

Chapter:
(p.139) 5 The Japanese Patent Medicine Trade in East Asia
Source:
Gender, Health, and History in Modern East Asia
Author(s):

Susan L. Burns

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888390908.003.0006

This chapter explores modern Japan’s pharmaceutical interest in and competition over women’s bodies in the 1920s and 1930s, analysing how patent drugs as “medical commodities” promoted multiple and competing representations of health and femininity not only to citizens but also to its colonial consumers. These commercial tonics contested the racialized and politicized Japanese bioscience and its hierarchies, presenting cosmopolitan ideals of health and beauty. Yet, when political shifts required it, the medical capitalists easily transitioned to marketing their products for child-bearing imperial female subjects.

Keywords:   Japanese Empire, Medical commodities, Advertisements, Patent medicine, Women’s health

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