Although Kasahara Ryōsaku and his colleagues hoped to distribute the vaccine as widely as possible, they did not prioritize the immunization of rural subjects but concentrated resources in the castle town. Even in the 1860s, over ten years after the introduction of the vaccine, rural parents in Fukui domain still appear to have taken their children into town. In part, the failure to penetrate the countryside simply reflected a lack of money and trained doctors and administrators. But the spatial concentration also had to do with the vaccine's constant need for unvaccinated bodies and the low population density in the countryside.
This pathway explores how networks (structures of village and domain rule), vehicles (the bodies of children), and the physical geography interacted to sustain vaccinations in the countryside through arm-to-arm transfers. Spatial imagination mattered as well because villages were not just places of low population density, but also situated at the remote end of an imaginative geography of periphery and center.
This pathway draws on research by Ban Isoshiro and Yanagisawa Fumiko.