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When I mention the name Berutu, I think that most people will think about “Berutu water”(a kind of cosmetic) or people who have visited Kusatsu Spa( Onsen) may recall the “Berutu memorial Hall ”.
A professor at the University of Tokyo was lamenting that most students did not know who the “Berutu” is even they see the statue of Dr Baelz at a garden of the same University .
As the number of doctors and the students who knew Dr Baelz gradually decreases , I would like to introduce some of the achievements of this German doctor.
There is a monument stone with a Haiku(Japanese short poet) by Dr Mizuhara Shuoushi(graduate of the University of Tokyo School of Medicine) in Tubingen University inGermany and we can find a copy of this stone at a Japanese garden in the city of Bietigheim-Bishingen, southern Germany .
This is a haiku that praised the achievements of Dr Baelz during his stay in Japan.
The Haiku says that “By your efforts, Japanese medicine began to bloom"(Kimini yorite nihon igakuno hana hiraku).
As Dr Baelz introduced the German modern medicine and established a foundation of modern medicine in Japan, it can be said that Dr. Baelz is the father of modern medicine in Japan.”
Dr Baelz came to Japan at the invitation of the Japanese Meiji government in 1876, and he stayed for 29 years in this country. Meanwhile, he left many achievements in medical education, medical treatment, and medical research. His achievements were not only in the medical field but also in politics, culture and more in a wide range of various fields.
He kept a diary scrupulously during his stay in Japan.
His son, Toku Baelz published his diary in Germany in1931.
with the title “ Das Leben eines deutschen Arztes im erwachenden Japan Tagebucher, Briefe, Berichteher ausgegeben ".
This diary is one of the precious documents of the history of Meiji era.
It was translated into Japanese by three men,:Masahiko Hamanabe, Ryutaro Suganuma and Jinsaburo Yamagami.
Dr Baelz taught physiology in Tokyo University Medical School, He began to teach internal Medicine after Dr Wernich resigned from the University. It is said that the first lecture on psychiatry in Japan was given by Dr Baelz. He showed strong interest in the effect of medical suggestion in the patients affected by Kitsunetuki , Japanese for “possession by a fox spirit. “ All the lectures at the University were done in German, in what is called “Japanisches Deutsche”, and the students were good at understanding the language
He had frequent association with royal families and high ranked government officials like Hirofumi Itoh and Kaoru Inoue and others. He later became a physician of Imperial Family.
He also did medical examination and treatment for many senior officials of the Meiji Government.
Among them were Shigenobu Okuma, Munemitsu Mutsu, Iwao Oyama and the wife, Taisuke Itagaki, Tomomi Iwakura, Aritomo Yamagata.
Dr Baelz sometimes visited them at their homes. He described the procedures in his diary.
The Meiji government invited many foreigners as specialist to aid Japan to become a modern nation in a very short term. These foreign employee were called “Oyatoi Gaikokujin”(hired foreign specialists)
Among them, Dr Baelz was known as a Japanophile. His intense interest in Japan is thought to have been considerably influenced by a Japanese woman named Arai Hana. She later became his wife.
When Dr Baelz returned to his homeland for a short time, letters written in "Romaji" were left adressed to his wife and his son, Toku Baelz .
In addition , his efforts to know Japan and Japanese culture were found in various parts of Japan.
He spottlighted to the study of parasites that were prevailing in those days in this counrty. Although the way to diagnose parasites was difficult, Dr Baelz first introduced the way of examining the Ova of the parasites from feces a ethod that now is common. This way he identified several parasites as causes of diseases in Japanese people.
Studies of the hookworm in this way really advanced. It was also Dr Baelz who first found pulmonary distomatosis and pushed forward in studｙing filariasis and scrub typhus(tsutsugamushi diseases).
The body temperature chart is one of the clues of diagnosis and has a big meaning in the diagnosis diseases. These graphs are commonly used in every hospital in Japan now . But it was not used in Japan in the days before Dr Baelz first used in Tokyo medical school. He used it after the teaching of Professor Wunderlich(senior physician of Dr Baelz)who first invented the chart for the diagonosis.
Dr Baelz first recognized a Mongolian spot in Japanese and he thought it was a spot peculiar to Mongolia race , but it is confirmed now that the spot is found also in Cocacian (about 4% ) and in other races.
It was also Dr Baelz that first pointed carotinoid pigmentation in Japanese skins .
He also left many achievements in the study of nutrition,
Japanology, and anthropological field.
It was Dr Baelz who had introduced the good effect of the hot spring in Kusatsu Onsen(Gumma Prefecture) to the world for the first time. He often visited Kusatsu Onsen and took a bath by himself and studied an acid hot-spring, a high temperature hot spring bath in detail.
The monument of Dr Baelz was built to honor him for his contribution to Kusatsu Onsen.
When he stayed for the winter season at Fujiya Hotel in Hakone , he noticed that some maids there suffered from their hands cracked and chapped. He then devised a therapeutic lotion for them. This was so useful that all maids enjoyed to use it. Moreover it was a lotion that everyone can make easily. It is called “Baelz Water” which is widely used even now.
In spite of busy medical work, he observed Japanese well, and sometimes he criticized Japanese bitterly. One of them is appeared in his diary on February 9, 1889. This was written just before the day of proclamation of Meiji Constitution (The Constitution of the Empire of Japan)
This goes as follows,
" Everyone in the city of Tokyo is wildly excited for the constitution promulgation. The day ia approaching. The preparation of the celebration gate, illumination line is underway.
But to be funny, no one knows what kind of things the Constitution is. "
Dr Baelz also gave the warning about the future of science learning of Japan. This was described in the speech held on November 3, 1901 in the celebration of 25 years commemoration of his staying in Tokyo University.
The speech said as follows,
"You too, gentlemen, have had a considerable number of bearers of this spirit in your midst over the last thirty years. All the countries of the West have delivered to you teachers who enthusiastically wanted to make this spirit here a plant and to the Japanese people. But their task has often been misunderstood; They have been treated as scientific fruit sellers, while they should and wanted to be gardeners of science. Japanese wanted to have only the "products" of today's science, while teachers from western countries were to sow the seed from which, in Japan, the tree of science could develop independently, the tree that cultivates properly, bears ever new and ever more beautiful fruits. Japanese content to take only the latest results instead of studying the spirit that feasts these new results."(summary from the diary of Dr Baelz)