Professor Clarence I-Zhuen Lee Holds Lecture on Edo Period Supernatural and Medical Discourse at Waseda University

Poster of Dr. Clarence I-Zhuen Lee's lecture at Waseda University sponsored by the Yanai Initiative.
Image credit: Waseda University

How was medicine and the supernatural interrelated during the Edo Period? On June 21st, iCLA Japan Studies Program Director Dr. Clarence I-Zhuen Lee delivered a public lecture on Asai Ryoi’s supernatural tale “The Peony Lantern” and its connection to Sinitic medicine of the early Edo Period at Waseda University. In his talk, Dr. Lee drew a connection between medicine and the supernatural, two fields which were intertwined during the Edo Period. He explored the idea that Asai Ryoi’s kaidan, telling the ghostly story of a man falling in love and having intercourse with what is eventually revealed to be a skeleton, was meant to introduce and reconcile folk religious and medical practice and new forms of Sinitic medical knowledge being introduced from the continent. Dr. Lee’s lecture was titled, “Co-Reading Edo Supernatural and Medical Discourse through Asai Ryōi’s ‘The Peony Lantern’”.

The lecture took place at Waseda University’s Waseda International House of Literature (The Haruki Murakami Library). The lecture was sponsored by the Yanai Initiative for Globalizing Japanese Humanities. The initiative started in 2014 through the donations of Tadashi Yanai, Chairperson, President and CEO of Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., the parent company of Uniqlo. It promotes Japanese humanities, aiming to make it more accessible to the public on a global scale.

Dr. Clarence I-Zhuen Lee giving a lecture at Waseda University sponsored by the Yanai Initiative.

The language of the event was Japanese and open to all students and faculty of Waseda University, as well as the general public.

Dr. Clarence I-Zhuen Lee is the Program Director of the Japan Studies major at iCLA. His research interests include Edo period medical history, intellectual history, and literature. He is also part of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) team which put together the exhibit Maternal Health and Images of the Body Examined Through Japanese Ukiyo-e currently on display at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Kalamanovitz Library and online. 

Dr. Clarence I-Zhuen Lee’s Faculty Profile