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date: 04 April 2020

Siebold, Philipp Franz vonlocked

(b Würzburg, Feb 17, 1796; d Munich, Dec 18, 1866).
  • Amy Reigle Stephens


(b Würzburg, Feb 17, 1796; d Munich, Dec 18, 1866).

German doctor of medicine, Japanologist and collector. He was the son of Christoph (1767–98) and Apollonia (1768–1845) von Siebold. His father was a professor of medicine at the University of Würzburg; von Siebold received his medical qualification from the same university in 1820. In 1822 he was appointed one of the four surgeon-majors in the Dutch East Indies Army and was sent to the capital of Java, Batavia (now Jakarta). He sailed the following year for Nagasaki to take up the post of doctor at the Dutch settlement on the island of Dejima (see Nagasaki). In addition to his medical duties he was required to gather information on Japan and to cultivate good relations with the Tokugawa shogunate. Once settled, von Siebold began to teach the natural sciences and medicine to the rangakusha (‘scholars of Dutch (Western) learning’) who were permitted entry to Dejima. He quickly earned a high reputation and was allowed more freedom of movement in Nagasaki than most of his fellow countrymen. In ...

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