International Leprosy Association -
History of Leprosy

  • International Leprosy Association -
    History of Leprosy


    Masako Ogawa

    Status Physician
    Country Japan


    Masako Ogawa (1902-1943) was a medical doctor at the Japanese National Sanatorium Nagashima Aisei-en from 1934-1937. She left the hospital due to tuberculosis.

    Ogawa is known for her book "Spring in a small island" (1938), in which she described her journey to leprosy sufferers, persuading them to request admission to sanatoria. She may have done this out of her commitment to offer better conditions to leprosy-affected people, but in the end, as many have criticised, she accelerated the inhumane "cleansing the community from leprosy movement". The image of a young female doctor travelling into the countryside to persuade leprosy sufferers attracted public sympathy, and the book and the film attracted wide public interest.

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