2011 Volume 87 Issue 5 Pages 186-200
An idiopathic disease with meningitis-like symptoms in infants, a so-called meningitis in infancy (SCMI), was endemic in Japan during the period of 30 years from the middle period of the Meiji Era to the late Taisho Era (early 20th century). In 1923, Professor Ikutaro Hirai at Kyoto University reported that SCMI was a chronic lead-poisoning disease caused by white lead in the mothers’ cosmetic powder. After his first report, so many articles on SCMI were published. Although a few authors were against the Hirai’s lead-poisoning theory, the great majority of authors presented evidence in support of his theory. In this study, we reviewed the SCMI articles published in a pediatric journal, Acta Paediatrica Japonica, which were issued in the period of the late Taisho Era (1923 – 1926). The articles which we dealt within this sketch included reviews, statistics, surveys, case-reports and clinical experiences.