This paper has influenced me during this COVID-19 pandemic. It breaks past the idea of looking at epidemic policy narrowly, through the lens of science and government, but with a broader view that includes “natural, social and economic factors.”
The TL;DR: in Japan, smallpox response was structured around the village and family, creating cultural changes that persisted into feudalism and into the modern era, when it was displaced by a more centralized response to cholera.
The paper takes as its inspiration, Contagion and the State by Peter Baldwin.
This is an NHK video of a festival they do in Kyoto to ward off pestilence. Click on the photo for a video.