Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Japanese medicine in World War II

A real benefit to having so many photographs of objects in our Medical Museum Collection available online is that we are contacted by people who know more about the items than we do -- and we are able to feed their expertise back into our collections.

Take for example item 77-35.1.5, donated long ago by physician E.H. McLean. Back in 1977 when it was accessioned, no one on staff here spoke or read Japanese. We accessioned it as a drug kit -- which certainly seems plausible, given the little vials and the spoon. Thirty years later, we still don't have anyone on staff who can read Japanese, but a helpful web searcher in the UK let us know that it is, in fact, a water purification kit. There don't appear to be many resources out there to aid in the identification of Japanese medical supplies and equipment from World War II -- at least not resources in English. Many thanks to our sharp-eyed British friend, and to any virtual experts (professional or amateur) who might be willing and able to help gather information about these pieces. We have over twenty collections of World War II-era Japanese medical items, so keep the suggestions coming!

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