Erin (rose_in_shadow) wrote in little_details,

Former samurai as doctor in Tokugawa or Meiji-era Japan

Googled: ronin doctor, samurai as doctor, intermixed with various qualifiers like "edo" and such. Didn't get much and have been unable to find where I first saw the idea.

Setting: Original fantasy world influenced by Tokugawa or Meiji-era Japan.

Scenario: Though it is an original fantasy world, I rather like the idea of some of it being based of real life probabilities. If I can't find anything I'll just make something up. But in the course of my research for this part of my book, I came across the idea that a few ronin in Edo-era Japan became wandering doctors. I've been unable to find this information again, and I've searched the internet and my copy of Dunn's Everyday Life in Traditional Japan to no avail. Has anyone else encountered this? My questions are these: where, if anywhere, would they have gotten medical training? Or was it simply an occupation they fell into and became sort of hedge-doctors without any real knowledge (except maybe that of sword wounds)? How were they looked upon by society at large? Doctors were outside the class system but as former samurai there must have been a mixture of disdain (he's a ronin) and respect perhaps? What was a doctor's income in this era? I've written my character as poor - essentially requiring a move to the next village to ply his trade where he is sometimes chased out by doctors already in residence. Would it be likely that if he so desired he could settle and pursue his vocation either as a doctor in general or maybe even as wealthy family's doctor-in-residence?
Tags: japan: health care and hospitals, japan: history

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