Ganka kinno [trans.: Causes, Diagnoses, and Treatments of Eye Diseases]. Fuitsu HONJO.
Ganka kinno [trans.: Causes, Diagnoses, and Treatments of Eye Diseases].

The Bible of 19th-Century Japanese Ophthalmology

Ganka kinno [trans.: Causes, Diagnoses, and Treatments of Eye Diseases].

Woodcut illus. in the text. Printed on double leaves, oriental style. Four vols. 8vo, orig. wrappers, orig. block printed title label on upper cover, stitched as issued in the oriental style. Edo: 1831.


—. Zoku Ganka kinno [trans.: Causes, Diagnoses, and Treatments of Eye Diseases, Second Series]. Woodcut illus. in the text (several are color printed). Two vols. 8vo, orig. wrappers, orig. block printed title label on upper cover, new stitching. Edo: 1837.

First edition. “In 1831 Fuichi or Shinichi or Toshiatsu Honjo (died 1846) published his Ganka kinno, a Japanese work in four volumes comparing the theory and practice of Chinese and European (Dutch) ophthalmological methods. After the usual series of commendatory prefaces, that book presented the gross anatomy of the eye with particular reference to the ocular muscles and the optic nerve; following that, the description of the geometrical optics of the eye: the projection of an external object on the retina; and the degree or range of normal vision, from myopia to hyperopia, in relation to the curvature of the crystalline lens. All of these descriptions were illustrated with colored woodblock prints. Of unique interest is an illustration showing the different appearances of the doko (‘apple of the eye’ = the pupil) in the successive stages in the making of artificial eyes. Volumes 1 and 2 presented diseases or abnormal conditions of the external or accessory structures of the eye (e.g. the eyelids) and treated of trauma, trachoma and acute conjunctivitis. Volume 3 elaborated the diseases and pathology of the internal eye (i.e. the eyeball). Volume 4 consisted entirely of prescriptions for the treatment of eye diseases. At that time in Japan ophthalmological science was a combination or admixture of Chinese and Dutch knowledge, and the Ganka kinno was considered the best monograph on that practice…

“A continuation of that work by Fuichi Honjo appeared in 1837 under the title Zoku ganka kinno, in two volumes. That was a sort of clinical section to the earlier work. A series of wood-block illustrations, some in color, showed a variety of ophthalmological instruments, with textual descriptions of their use, and pictures of their application. For example, an instrument for applying medicine to the eye was made by tying a bag containing the medicine around the end of a wooden handle, and used by squeezing it against the eye with the head tilted backward. An eye-dropper, syringes, and a magnifying glass for use by the oculist were figured. Ophthalmological instruments consisted of various kinds of spoons, tubes, loops, forceps, scissors, needles, lances, knives, and clamps. Illustrations of each of these are shown. Retractors for the eyelids were of bamboo or of copper. Metallic instruments (cautery irons) to be heated in a charcoal fire were shown, with an illustration of them in use. Other pictures showed the use of special needles in the treatment of cataract.”–Mestler, A Galaxy of Old Japanese Medical Books With Miscellaneous Notes on Early Medicine in Japan. Part IV. Ophthalmology, Psychiatry, Dentistry, pp. 334-35.

Honjo was one of the most prominent physicians in Japan and was well-known as an educator familiar with Chinese, Western, and Japanese medicine. He worked very closely with P.F. von Siebold. The present book was the standard work on ophthalmology in Japan throughout the 19th century.

Fine set.

Price: $5,500.00

Item ID: 5588

See all items in Japan, Japanese, Medicine, Ophthalmology
See all items by