The Wife of Seishu Hanaoka
The Wife of Seishû Hanaoka is set in feudal Japan. Its two central characters are based on the wife and mother of Japanese physician Seishû Hanaoka (1760-1835). Hanaoka developed a herbal general anaesthetic, “Tsusensan”, some forty years before the better-known innovations of his American counterparts Long, Wells and Morton. Hanaoka performed the world’s first mastectomy under general anaesthesia in October 1804. His disciples and trainees continued the surgical tradition he founded after his death. The neglected wife of Seishû Hanaoka, who is doing research on general anesthesia, chooses to become his guinea pig in order to get his further attention.