The Footprints of Aso

Iizuka Hospital

THE FOOTPRINTS OF ASO - WITHIN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY

Iizuka Hospital (Part 1)

At the end of the Meiji era as Japan pursued modernization, the Kama and Honami areas were merged to form Kaho County in 1896 (Meiji 29). However, the county did not have the financial capabilities to open schools or hospitals and faced the difficult tasks of establishing a public county women's school, a public county hospital, and a public agricultural school.

Coal mine owners in the Chikuho region stepped in to help achieve these goals. Denemon Ito, who owned Nakazuru Tanko and Arate Kogyosho, fully funded the women's school. As for the hospital, Takichi Aso told the county council he wished to contribute to local medical care and the welfare of the people by establishing a hospital that would serve the same function as a county hospital, and his proposal passed unanimously. (The county later built the agricultural school itself.)

Takichi, who accepted responsibility for establishing the large hospital, constructed a 1,350 tsubo (approximately 4,463 square meter) hospital on a 8,300 tsubo (approximately 27,390 square meter) piece of land by the Onga River in 1910 (Meiji 43), spending 136,000 yen (today equivalent to 1.5 billion yen). After assigning doctors to work at the hospital from universities in Tokyo and Fukuoka, and just as the hospital was ready to fully open, an unexpected obstacle arose. The Kaho County medical association vehemently opposed the opening of the new hospital on the grounds that a large hospital would take patients away from independent doctors who would be unable to make a living.

Among the people who opposed the hospital, some took Takichi's philosophy of attracting good doctors and offering complete medical care and medicine for the people of the county as an indication of his ambition to earn profits and attacked Takichi's motives. Takichi hide his anger and frustration and decided to put the business on hold. He tightly sealed the doors of the newly built hospital.

The hospital finally opened in 1918 (Taisho 7), eight years after its construction was completed. Takichi transformed his coal mining business from a privately operated business to Aso Shoten Co., Ltd., and to mark this occasion he opened the hospital as "Aso Tanko Hospital," which was exclusively for the mine workers (approximately 7,200 people) and their family members (approximately 23,000 people). The hospital had 120 beds and five departments of internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, ENT, and ophthalmology. Even to this day, a general hospital is required to have the five medical departments as well as over 100 beds, so clearly it was an impressive general hospital at the time.

In 1920 (Taisho 9), after repeated requests by local residents to receive treatment at the hospital, the hospital was rename "Shiritsu Iizuka Hospital" and opened its door to the general public. Medical activities for the community started in full swing.

Iizuka Hospital
Address:
Yoshio-machi 3-83, Iizuka-shi, Fukuoka-ken
Telephone:
0948-22-3800
First-time patient visiting hours:
8:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. (closed on Saturday, Sunday, and national holidays/may differ depending on the department)
Parking capacity:
339 cars (pay parking)
http://aih-net.com/

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