Sato family (Juntendo)

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Bust of Satô Taizen, one of a number of monuments to the individual members of the Satô family, at the Juntendô in Sakura
  • Japanese: 佐藤(Satou-ke)

The Satô family of Sakura (Shimousa province, today Chiba prefecture), consisting chiefly of the adopted sons of Juntendô founder Satô Taizen, and their adopted sons in turn, were prominent figures in the study and practice of Western medicine in Bakumatsu and Meiji period Japan. Several of Taizen's natural sons who were adopted into other families and took on other names were also prominent Bakumatsu or Meiji period figures.

Taizen's adopted son Satô Takanaka (Yamaguchi Shunkai) studied medicine in Nagasaki with the Dutch military doctor Pompe, and then came to the Juntendô, where he took in a systematic medical education, studying and developing methods which continued to play a prominent role in how medicine was practiced in the Meiji period.

Takanaka later founded the Juntendô-iin (Juntendô Clinic) and Juntendô University in Tokyo, as well as a school of medicine which was later absorbed into the University of Tokyo. Satô Susumu (Takawa Kaiseki), another adoptee into the Satô family, succeeded Takanaka as the head of several of these institutions. Meanwhile, the Sakura Juntendô passed into the hands of Takanaka's adopted son, Satô Shunkai (Okamoto Dôan). Takanaka's natural daughter, Satô Shizu, was a pioneer in women's education, and served for a time as head of a private women's school of art.

Several of Satô Taizen's natural children, meanwhile, were adopted into other families. One such son, Matsumoto Ryôjun, studied Western medicine with Pompe in Nagasaki, was appointed to a high-ranking post within the shogunate's medical office, and later became a medical officer with the Imperial Japanese Army. Another of Taizen's sons, Hayashi Tadasu, served for a time as Japanese consul in England, and as Foreign Minister, playing a key role in the development of the UK-Japan Alliance. A number of prominent figures, including Enomoto Takeaki, Mitsukuri Rinshô, and Ogata Koreyoshi, meanwhile, married into the Satô family.


  • Plaques and gallery labels at Sakura Juntendô Memorial Hall.