- The Human Geographical Society of Japan
- 人文地理 (ISSN:00187216)
- vol.30, no.5, pp.447-461, 1978-10-28 (Released:2009-04-28)
It is said that in the Edo Era cholera prevailed in Bunsei 5 (1822), Ansei 5 (1858) and Bunkyu 2 (1862). In considering the actual substance of each epidemic from the number of the deaths recorded in the necrologies of temples, the following became clear.1) The epidemic in Bunsei 5 was the first big incident of this in Japan. As for the invasion route of cholera to our country, although there are several opinions, it can be established that invasion came through Nagasaki.Cholera prevailed in south-west Japan, especially in the San'in and San'yo areas, but it did not reach north-east Japan or Edo.2) The Ansei epidemic started from Nagasaki, and became quite widespread all over the country in Ansei 5 and 6, spreading as far as Edo and Mutsu.The Ansei 5 epidemic was the first one in Edo and it was particularly serious but as regards the country as a whole, there seem to have been more places where the epidemic broke out in Ansei 6 rather than Ansei 5.Because there was so much recorded concerning the epidemic in Edo, it was wrongly thought to be the biggest epidemic of cholera in modern age in our country.3) Cholera also prevailed on a great scale over the whole country in Bunkyu 2. To consider this as a continuation of the epidemic in the Ansei period is wrong, for it is established fact that in the first year of Bunkyu, matters were completely back to normal and that the epidemic in the second year of Bunkyu came in from Nagasaki and spread from there.It is possible to say that the cholera epidemic in Bunkyu 2 was substantially the worst in the Edo Era, because it was widespread throughout the country and the number of victims was so great.As the record of deaths in the necrologies show pronounced peaks coinciding with the sudden infection of cholera and high death rate, and as the peaks occur at different times depending on the district, it is easy to trace the infection route of cholera.Furthermore, based on various old records of public government offices, villages and temples, we can endorse the following points concerning the prevalence of cholera at that time.* That the invasion route of cholera started in Nagasaki.* That the theory of the big three epidemics in Bunsei, Ansei and Bunkyu stands, rather than the theory of the big two in Bunsei and Ansei.* That the Ansei 5 epidemic occurred in Edo only, and that as regards the whole country the theory that the worst epidemic was in Bunkyu 2 stands rather than the theory that it was in Ansei 5.