The Edo Period was a time of great change for Japan, in just about every way possible. Perhaps one of the areas of biggest change, though, was science and medicine, thanks to the numerous scholars who spent years learning not only from Western sources but also from their own work.

One of the pioneers of medicine in the Edo Period was Toshuku Neguro, an ophthalmologist who sketched the first Japanese diagram of the human skeleton. While it was likely a fairly gruesome job, Neguro’s sketches are somehow almost…cute?!

While we would never want to disparage someone’s artistic skills, we have to admit that, as Japaaan pointed out, there’s something just positively adorable about these drawings. They’re not bad, but there’s almost a child-like quality to how round everything is and the way rib cage almost looks like its made of straws!

▼ It wouldn’t look out of place in a kid’s science show on TV, either.


Even the toes are kind of cute, don’t you think? Unfortunately, the story behind the drawing is much less cute and a lot more gruesome…

These illustrations, which Neguro produced in 1732, are believed to be the first formal illustrations of the human skeleton produced in Japan, which is pretty cool until you find out how he got the bones. You see, Neguro was working with the remains of two people who had been sentenced to death…by immolation.

▼ But, still, look at that profile! “Totes adorbs!”


The drawings lose their charm somewhat when you learn that, but, on the other hand, there’s still a lot to love about them. After all, they were quite valuable to scientific knowledge in Japan at the time, predating the first government-sanctioned dissection of a human body in Japan in 1754.

However, as important as these drawings are, it turns out there is a problem: While Neguro got the number of bones right, it looks as if he got the number of teeth wrong. In the ophthalmologist’s defense, though, he wasn’t exactly working with a perfect sample…

Sources: Japaaan, Baibunka
Images: Pink Tentacle via Daily News Agency