Julis Scriba

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Bronze busts of Erwin von Baelz (left) and Julis Scriba (right) at the University of Tokyo School of Medicine

Julius Karl Scriba was a German physician who taught and practiced medicine for many years at what is today the University of Tokyo School of Medicine. He is considered one of the founders of the modern practice of external medicine in Japan.

Born in Reinheim, in the Grand Duchy of Hesse, he studied medicine at the University of Heidelberg, and then worked for a time as a tutor at the University of Freiberg. Scriba came to Japan in 1881, where he taught and practiced medicine at the Tokyo School of Medicine (later, the Tokyo Imperial University Medical School) for roughly twenty years. The innovations he introduced into Japan included sterilized and bloodless surgery, as well as techniques for using tourniquets and ether.

Scriba was hired or dispatched by the Imperial government to attend to foreign dignitaries on several occasions, including treating the injuries of the Russian prince Nicholas Alexandrovich who survived an assassination attempt in Ôtsu in 1891, and Chinese diplomat Li Hongzhang, who was shot during negotiations for the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895.

Scriba's appointment at the University ended in 1901, and he began working at St. Luke's Hospital in Tokyo. However, just four years later, in 1905, he died in Kamakura. He is buried in Tokyo's Aoyama Cemetery.


  • Plaque for busts of Scriba and Erwin von Baelz at University of Tokyo School of Medicine.[1]