Modified and translated by CFJA
From the Kamakura to the Muromachi period, the medical officer’s system was abandoned, and doctor of acupuncture 針博士, acupuncturists 針師, and along with others lost their names. However, the appearance of Isai Misono in the Sengoku period (Warring States period) at the end of the Muromachi period led to the restoration of acumoxa therapy in Japan. The following are the three major Japanese acupuncture techniques: a method from China, nenshin-jyutsu 撚鍼術 (twisting acupuncture technique), Isai Misono’s method of dashin-jyutsu 打鍼術 (hammering acupuncture technique), and Waichi Sugiyama’s method of kanshin-jyutsu 管鍼術 (tube acupuncture technique). Tsunayoshi Tokugawa promoted the restoration of acupuncture techniques, which led to the emergence of the department of Sugiyama-style acupuncture in the mid-Edo period. As the efficacy of the moxibustion method was considered compatible with acupuncture, moxibustion techniques were researched as well. In the Edo period, acupuncture therapy was called hari-chi 鍼治 and the doctor who performed it was called hari-i 鍼医 (acupuncture doctor). Moxibustion therapy was called kyu-chi 灸治, and the doctor who performed it was called kyu-i 灸医 (moxibustion doctor). Although it spread among the citizens, the rules for becoming a doctor were not laid down in the same way as for medical officers.
In the Kamakura period, according to the book idanshou『医談抄』written by Tomotoshi Koremune in 1284, it shows that shin-jyutsu 針術 (acupuncture technique) and raku 烙, which is a burnt needle technique 火針術 (Jp. kashin-jyutsu)/ 燔針術 (Jp. hanshin-jyutsu), were used. Burnt needle 火針 (Jp. hi-bari)/燔針 (Jp. hanshin) is the medical technique used to treat boils. This reveals that not only did practitioners at that time perform acupuncture techniques on meridians and acupuncture points, they also practiced it as part of the surgical treatment. The most famous book of this time is Man’anpo 『万安方』.
In the Muromachi period, although we can see the decline of acupuncture, there is no historical evidence that indicated a complete stop of the practice of acupuncture therapy. Once the doctor had diagnosed the illness by feeling the pulse, they would treat, for example, fever with gold needles and moxibustion. They also used a form of bloodletting therapy called hi-bari 火針 (fire needle) and kaki-bari 掻針 (scratching needle) on boils. During this period, Dozan Manase published Keitekishu『啓迪集』, which, together with the Fukudenhou 『福田方』, is regarded as a valuable book. The Shinkyu shuyo 『鍼灸集要』 also written by Dozan Manase is a valuable book that discusses the important laws of acumoxa.
In the Azuchi-Momoyama period, Isai Misono (Misono-style hitting acupuncture technique 御園流打鍼術), Ikyu Yoshida (Yoshida-style acupuncture technique 吉田流鍼術) and Yoriaki Irie (Irie-style acupuncture technique 入江流鍼術) were born. Currently, there is a debate about who is the founder of Mubun-style 夢分流 (Hitting or hammering acupuncture) under the name of Mubunsai 夢分斎. Although it has been argued that Mubunsai 夢分斎 is Isai Misono’s father – Mubun 無分 – because the pronunciation of their names are similar, the conclusion has not been reached yet. Isai Misono was appointed as the doctor of acupuncture who raises acupuncturists 針師 for the Ministry of Imperial Household. It seems to be that dashin-jyutsu 打鍼術 (hammering acupuncture technique) was added to the educational content in the past. This period shows a clear indication of the start of japanization.
After the Heian period, acupuncture needles were in different lengths and sizes, and have been used for different purposes depending on the illness. However, due to the decline of acumoxa techniques, practitioners only used sword needle 鈹針 and filiform needle 毫針 at that time. The shape of sword needle 鈹針 is made for cutting boils open; the shape of filiform needle 毫針 is made to insert the needle into the body, the one that most practitioners are using today.
Dashin-jyutsu 打鍼術 (hammering acupuncture technique), in which needles are tapped on the body with objects like a wooden mallet, has given rise to many new tools. This was the period when Japanese acupuncture revived after declining. Later, Japan’s invention, shinkan 針管 (guide tube) was born.