Pandemics, Past and Present: Influenza, COVID-19, Military Hospital Ships in Japan

Photo of 1930s Underwood typewriter next to a candle

By Sumiko Otsubo, Metropolitan State University


During the Siberian Intervention, the Japanese Army decided not to adopt hospital ships (病院船) but to rely on patient ships (患者船) when transporting 13,800 troops back to Japan and when the fall wave of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic was at its worst. Is it a valuable lesson for the current hospital ship legislative debate in Japan?

Key words: Pandemic パンデミック, Influenzaインフルエンザ, COVID-19新型コロナウイルス, Japan日本, Military Hospital Ships軍用病院船, Siberian Interventionシベリア出兵.

Edited by Birgit Schneider and Jeanne E. Grant

This is a special summer issue of the journal called, Pandemics in Historical Perspective. Every Friday, or nearly every Friday, through mid-June another article will be published. The articles, as they are published, will be open to moderated comments. We invite readers to comment or to ask questions of the authors. Check back each week to see the next article and to see how the conversation has evolved.

© 2019 and 2020 The Middle Ground Journal Number 19, 2019-2020 special summer issue See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.