J. L. C. Pompe van Meerdervoort

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Johannes L C Pompe van Meerdervoort

Johannes Lijdius Catharinus Pompe van Meerdervoort (5 May 1829, Bruges – 7 October 1908, Brussels) was a Dutch physician based in Nagasaki, Japan. In Nagasaki he taught medicine, chemistry and photography and established a medical school and hospital.

Biography[edit]

Pompe van Meerdervoort was born into an aristocratic family originally from Dordrecht, and was the son of an officer in the Dutch army, Johan Antoine Pompe van Meerdervoort of Leiden, and Johanna Wilhelmina Hendrika de Moulin of Kampen.[1] Pompe studied medicine at the military hospital in Utrecht and became a naval surgeon in 1849. He traveled to Japan, staying in Dejima (the Dutch enclave in Nagasaki harbor) from 1857 to 1863, and was invited by the Tokugawa bakufu to teach western medicine at the Kaigun Denshujo naval academy. He had 133 students, to whom he single-handedly attempted to impart the entire medical curriculum. At his suggestion, the government opened Japan's first western-style hospital, the Nagasaki Yojosho, with 124 beds and a medical school [2] in 1861. He returned to the Netherlands in 1862, accompanied by two of his students, who thus became the first Japanese to study western medicine abroad.

In 1867-1868 Pompe published a book titled Vijf jaren in Japan ("Five Years in Japan").[3]

Among Pompe's photography students were Ueno Hikoma, one of the first professional Japanese photographers, and Uchida Kuichi, who was the first to photograph the Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken.

In Voorburg, near Den Haag, a Pompe van Meerdervoortstraat was named after him.

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External links[edit]

  • [1]: Scan of Vijf jaren in Japan at Google Books
  • [2]: Image of J. L. C. Pompe van Meerdervoort