Electricity makes us healthy ---The Popularization of electrotherapy in Japan


Although an electric treatment was introduced to Japan in the end of the 19th centuries, it was in the 1920s through the 1930s that this treatment got popular to the public in Japan. That depends on the development of electric industry rather than the progress of medical science.


After the First World War, certain big power companies started to supply energy in many districts in Japan, and a lot of appliance companies also established. Japan tried to catch up the living standard of “civilized countries” which advanced in applying electricity at home. The power companies and the appliance companies struggled to illuminate knowledge of electricity to the public by publishing pamphlets or giving exhibitions. One of what they taught through these activities and occasions is that electricity made people healthy and beautiful. At the same time, some companies set out in producing original household appliances, not imitating other countries’ products. They thought the electric treatment was one of the good markets for them and actually invented some appliances for the electric treatment which could be used easily at home.


With focusing on the development of the electric industry, my research will investigate the popularization of the electric treatment in the 1920s - 1930s of Japan (Producing household appliances completely stopped in 1938 because of the opening of the Second World War, therefore my analysis will be until the time). My research will be composed of four parts:


1. How did the appliance companies explain to their customers in their advertisements or catalogues that electricity makes people healthy and beautiful?  

2. What kinds of appliances for the electric treatment did they produce? And for what kinds of diseases were they used?

3. How did doctors and other medical scientists help engineers to design those appliances?

4. Did the popularization of the electric treatment change the traditional way of cure at home? If not, how did those two treatments live together at home?