10 July, Ryo Komae

文字数 3,549文字

The Future in a Microscope

I knew it was a dream. I was only a step away from finding a treatment for that infectious disease. And once the drug was ready, people around the world would be saved from suffering. I would be a hero. But then, that’s not really the point. Nothing is more important to a doctor than saving patients. As I reasoned with myself, it dawned on me how true it was; I didn’t care about being a hero, I wasn’t seeking glory. However, I also didn’t want to be beaten by anybody else.
  Passion and sincerity make anything possible. And with steady effort, there can be nothing to hold one back. This is what I have always believed.
  The experiments were a success: the bacteria inside the microscope disappeared. My dream always ended at this point, with a pleasant feeling of achievement. It was what came next that was truly maddening.
  I opened my eyes and sighed. Again there would be no work for me today. For nearly five months now I had been passing time, with nothing to focus my energy on. I’d refused many invitations to return to Japan, vowing to repay my country for giving me the chance to study overseas.
  But others said I had disobeyed my mentor (I say mentor; in actual fact we were in the same academic year together, since I had repeated some years). In truth all I had done was to express an opposing academic opinion. It was the clique of hangers-on, rather than my mentor, who sought to thoroughly exclude me for this. They exerted their influence to ensure that no hospital or research institute in Japan would allow me to work there. I was vexed and frustrated. Every night I had dreams.
  But today, I was going to meet someone who might help me. A person my former supervisor had introduced me to. When it was time, I dressed appropriately and left home. The high autumn sky was clear and blue.
  There was no time to waste. Treatments were needed for so many diseases: the plague, cholera, dysentery, rabies, influenza. . . .

  In May of Meiji 25 (1892), Shibasaburo Kitasato returned to Japan from studying overseas. That same year he had succeeded in growing the tetanus bacillus in pure culture and establishing serum therapy, research that was deemed worthy of a Nobel Prize (though it was not awarded to Kitasato). However, due to friction with the University of Tokyo, he was unable to find anywhere suitable to continue his research in Japan. In November that year, he established The Institute For Study of Infectious Diseases with the backing of Yukichi Fukuzawa, founder of Keio University. Thus did research on infectious diseases in Japan begin out of a mere six rooms at this Institute.

Translated by Alison Watts/Arranged by TranNet KK

Ryō Komae
Born in Shimane Prefecture, 1976. Completed his master degree at the University of Tokyo. While at university, he began writing a history column. After joining an author management agency, Wright Staff, he began writing novels on the advice of Yosiki Tanaka and made his literary debut in 2005 with



(Li Shimin). His other works include



(Chronicles of the emperor Xuanzong of Tang),






(Whole country under one sway: Qin Shi Huang the eternal),






(Liu Yu: Emperor of the heavenly sword), among others. He has also written many stories for children including


(Three kingdoms),



(Sanada ten braves), and



(Military history of the Shinsengumi).




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