The Story of Something That Did Not Happen
The introductory chapter discusses the nature of the tuberculosis epidemic in Japan during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During this period, there was a tensive relationship between foreign evangelical groups and the Japanese government, two institutions that claimed for themselves moral superiority in a series of moral enterprises. Common to both was the tendency to either downplay or hide the epidemic from public attention. While the government abstracted the epidemic from the national narrative because it was seen as a point of vulnerability, many of the evangelical groups ignored the epidemic because it presented no particular advantage to their work as missionaries. Because the epidemic failed to be actively addressed by those with resources and political power, it continued to worsen, deeply affecting the economic and social structure of Japan.
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