This paper aims to examine the spread of Manchurian plague and the response of the Japanese colonial government. Previous studies of this issue stressed the successful, albeit forced, preventative measures taken by the Japanese colonial government. However, this paper argues that Western powers did not agree with the new theory that pneumonic plague was transmitted through respiratory infections, as discovered by Wu Liande and promoted by Kitasato Shibasaburo. They continued to believe the old Japanese theory that the plague was transmitted through fleas from rodents. The Japanese colonial government focused on reducing the rat population to prevent the spread of plague. Moreover, they had no quarantine hospitals or other equipment, and epidemic prevention programs and measures were inadequate. The success of their efforts was due less to the measures taken by the Japanese colonial government than from the low influx of Chinese laborers into Korea.
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