William Willis (physician) bigraphy, stories - British doctor

William Willis (physician) : biography

1837 - 1894

William Willis (1837–1894) was a British physician (medical doctor) who joined the British mission in Japan in 1861.


Willis was born in Ireland in 1837, and studied medicine at Glasgow, Scotland. He volunteered for an assignment at the British legation in Edo, Japan in 1861, where he served as medical officer under Sir Harry Smith Parkes. During the unsettled years at the end of the Tokugawa bakufu and Meiji restoration, Willis treated the British nationals wounded in the Namamugi Incident and the Bombardment of Kagoshima.

Willis later participated to the Boshin war as the head of medical operations for Satsuma domain During the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, he set a military hospital in the temple of Shōkokuji (相国寺Shokokuji Temple) in Kyoto, not far from the frontline. He continued to support the medical operations of the Satsuma side throughout the Boshin War."Saigo Takamori and Okubo Tshimichi", p63. ISBN 4-309-76041-4)

Willis was later appointed professor and clinical chief of the Igakko (later the faculty of medicine of Tokyo Imperial University.

In 1870, Willis resigned to become head of the hospital and medical school in Kagoshima at the invitation of Saigo Takamori. The institution later became the medical department of Kagoshima University. With the outbreak of the Satsuma Rebellion in 1877, he returned to Tokyo.

Willis returned to England in 1881, and later spent time with his great friend Ernest Satow in Bangkok, Siam.

According to Satow, Willis was unusually tall at 6'8". 6"3" - the 6"8" is a misreading of the text

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