[Peculiar history to formation of 'Freely recuperate zone' in the National Sanatorium Kuryu Rakusen-en, Gunma, Japan (relation between the 'Old Yunosawa-ward' and 'Freely recuperate zone' in the National Sanatorium Kuryu Rakusen-en)].Nihon Hansenbyo Gakkai Zasshi. 2011 Sep; 80(3):249-59.NH
Hansen's disease sufferers had been visiting the hot spring, Kusatsu-Spa, in Gunma, Japan, for Toji (which means 'hot springs treatment' in Japanese) since the middle ages, as it was known reportedly for a long time to be effective in curing the disease. In 1869, Kusatsu-Spa was hit by a massive fire. The innkeepers, who suffered devastating damages, were trying to reconstruct the economy quickly by promoting the medical benefits of the hot spring. This made many Hansen's disease patients to visit and of which many stayed on a long term bases. They would use the hot spring with ordinary visitors. And, they had received the treatment of the spotted moxa cautery with the hot-spring treatment. Later on, Kusatsu- Spa became well known throughout Japan and as the numbers of ordinary visitors increased, they voiced their concerns in sharing the hot spring with the Hansen's disease patients. Therefore, the innkeepers decided to move the patients to another district called Yunosawa and suggested to make a special village of just the patients. In 1887, the representative of the patients came to an agreement with the mayor of Yunosawa to establish a treatment centre there. Yunosawa became part of an administrative area of Kusatsu Town. The area seemed to become a local-governing area mainly shaped by Hansen's disease sufferers and the first legal residential area where Hansen's disease sufferers were given citizenships and may convalesce freely. However, in 1931, leprosy prevention law was passed, and the Japanese government built a new medical treatment centre of Hansen's disease, 4km away from Kusatsu- Spa, which is called National Sanatorium Kuryu Rakusen-en. After deliberations with the representative of the Hansen's disease patients living in the Yunosawa area and the governor of Gunma Prefecture, who received the order from the Japanese government to move them, had agreed to the mass relocation in 1941. This is how Yunosawa had closed its 55 years history and many Hansen's disease patients had moved to the National Sanatorium Kuryu Rakusen-en. The 'Freely recuperate Zone' within the centre houses affluent patients who had enough funds to build their own houses. I was able to hear from many residential People who have historical knowledge of the above and would like to report it here.