A Brief History of Juntendo

The distinguished history of Juntendo started in 1838 with the founding of a private medical school, the so-called "Wadajuku," by Taizen Sato. During the era Japan was preparing to open extensive foreign contact and was also beginning to have great interest in Western culture. Taizen had studied Dutch medicine in Nagasaki himself and became one of the best practitioners of Western medicine in Japan. In 1843, Taizen was invited by one of the lords in Sakura to serve as a guest home doctor. At that time he also decided to move Wadajuku from Tokyo to Sakura and to change the school's name to Juntendo. Owing to the high reputation of Juntendo, many students came to study medicine with Taizen. Some of these students became leaders not only in the field of medical science and education but also in Japanese politics. Although many of the documents about Juntendo's early history were lost in the fires resulting from the big earthquake in 1923 and World War II, we still have some documents which show that Taizen played an important role in the field of medical activities and education. Among them, we have some books about Western medicine which were translated into Japanese by Taizen.

In 1859, after Taizen retired, his adopted child Takanaka Sato became the second director of Juntendo. Takanaka educated students at Daigaku Toko (the present Tokyo University) as dean at the request of the Meiji government. In 1875, he retired from this medical institute and founded the first private hospital in Japan, called Juntendo Hospital in Tokyo. In 1869, his adopted child Susumu Sato, who later became the third director of Juntendo, went to study medicine at the University of Berlin in Germany. He was the first student from Japan to study abroad officially. After graduating, Susumu also studied under the famous surgeon and professor of Vienna University, Theodor Billroth. Later, Susumu founded the "Journal of Juntendo Medical Research" in 1887 in order to contribute to the progress of medical science in Japan. The journal has continued to publish medical research up to the present day.

Specialization of clinics at Juntendo Hospital began in 1886, first with internal medicine and surgery. In 1891, ophthalmology was added, in 1901 plastic surgery, in 1903 urology, in 1908 dermatology, in 1910 obstetrics and gynecology, in 1912 otorhinolaryngology, in 1912 radiology, in 1920 pediatrics, in 1934 orthopaedic surgery, and so on.

During World War II, the fourth director, Tatsujiro Sato, founded the Juntendo Foundation to start activities of medical education, clinical practice and sports instruction. After World War II, Tatsujiro's son in law, Noboru Ariyama reformed Juntendo University to the present health university and also established the first intensive care unit (ICU) in Japan. He also organized the hospital into departments according to each specialty and subspecialty. Then Takehiko Azuma and Katsumi Kaketa served as chairmen of the board of trustees of Juntendo. They were followed by Shozo Ishii in 1992 and the present chairman Ogawa Hideoki. Under their leadership, Juntendo has been developing constantly to provide excellence in medical education, research and medical practice in Japan.

For more information about Juntendo University's history please view the following links: