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A collection maintained by the Museum of Choei Takano
Choei Takano関連写真
A collection maintained by the Museum of Choei Takano

Choei Takano

  • Biography
1804-1850. Physician and scholar of Western studies. Takano studied Dutch medicine in Nagasaki from a person named Siebold and opened his practice in Edo. He formed the research group of Western studies Shoshikai with Kazan Watanabe and others and delved into the study of Western culture. He was imprisoned for six years for writing “Yume Monogatari” (My Dream Vision), in which he criticized the diplomatic policies of the Shogunate, but he escaped from jail by bribing a prison guard to set fire to the prison. Although he returned to Edo and lived by hiding out in various places, he was eventually arrested and killed.

  • Association with Minato City
He spent his last days of life in his secret hiding place in Aoyama Hyakunin-cho

Choei changed his appearance by burning his face with chemicals and moved around the country, but he eventually returned to Edo in March 1850 and lived in hiding in Aoyama Hyakunin-cho. That area had a concentration of official residences of the Shogun’s foot soldiers and sympathizers, and the grounds of the residence of a foot soldier named Kojima contained a pawnbroker’s annex. Choei ran a medical practice on that premises under the false name of Sanpaku Sawa.

However, on the last day of October in the same year, he was attacked by a Shogunate official in an alley on his return home, arrested, and killed. A stone monument, inscribed with “The hiding place of Doctor Choei Takano,” stands where he died in what we know as Minamiaoyama. It was 48 years after his death before his honor was restored, and a commemorative monument inscribed with Kaishu Katsu’s composition was erected in Zenko Temple in Kita-Aoyama after he was posthumously bestowed the title of Lord. In 1837, he wrote Yumemonogatari (My Dream Vision), which stressed the need to open Japan to the world after the 1837 attack on an American ship, the Morrison. He continued to translate Western books while on the run and translated such books as Iryo Suyo (Fundamentals of Medical Care). Although he was a brilliant scholar of Western studies and a pioneer in medicine, he had a rather unfortunate life.

Nihon Jinmei Daijiten (Japanese Biographical Dictionary (Kodansha)
Tokyo 10,000-po Walking No. 7 (Tokyo 10,000 Steps Walking Volume 7) (Written and edited by Norio Kagotani / Shinju Shoin)
Minato-ku Shiseki Sanpo (Historical Walks of Minato City) (Motoaki Tawara / Gakuseisha)
Edo, Tokyo: Rekishi no Sanpomichi Volume 3 (Edo and Tokyo: Historical Walks Volume 3) (Machi to Kurashisha)

  • Walking Points
The place where Choei Takano died (Spiral Hall, 5-6-23 Minamiaoyama)
Commemorative monument of Choei Takano (Zenko Temple, 3-5-17 Kitaaoyama)

  • Literary Works
Takano Choei Zenshu (The Complete Works of Choei Takano) (Edited by Takano Choei Kankyokai / Daiichi Shobo)
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  • Related Publications
Dodo Nihon Jinbutsushi Volume 13; Sengoku, Bakumatsu-hen, Takano Choei (Dodo Japanese Historical Figures Volume 13: Sengoku and Bakumatsu Edition: Choei Takano) (Hisaharu Tsukuba / Kokudosha)
Takano Choei (Shosuke Sato / Iwanami Shoten)
Kagakusha Takano Choei (The Scientist Choei Takano) (Chikara Sugawa / Iwate Shuppan)
Takano Choei (Shunsuke Tsurumi / Asahi Sensho)
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