Modified and translated by CFJA
In Ihohogiron 異法方宜論 (“Discourse on Different Therapeutic Treatments”) of Kotei daikei somon 黄帝内経素問 (“Inner Classic of the Yellow Emperor – Basic Questions”), other than the area toho 東方 (eastern direction) and hoppo 北方 (northern direction), the book also mentions about the area in saiho 西方 (western direction), nanpo 南方 (Southern direction), and chuo 中央 (center). In recent years, many people interpreted this idea by dividing China into five regions. In that case, toho 東方 (eastern direction) would represent the regions on the east coast of China. However, since sinocentrism in China claims that China is the center of the world, chuo 中央 (center) would be China, toho 東方 (eastern direction) would be Japan, hoppo 北方 (northern direction) would be Mongolia, saiho 西方 (western direction) would be the Uyghur region, and nanpo 南方 (Southern direction) would be Vietnam, Myanmar, etc. China was the largest country during the Tang dynasty and at that time, countries other than Japan were mostly China. Also, China, in the Yuan dynasty, attacked Japan twice during the Kamakura period for the expansion of their territory. Some are arguing that the current Chinese government is intending to expand their territory back to the size it was during the Tang dynasty. Considering the latter view about the interpretation of directional terms, Yu Fujikawa’s theory that ‘Since the ancient period, acupuncture therapy existed in Japan’ matches with the understanding that toho 東方 (eastern direction) mentioned in Ihohogiron 異法方宜論 (“Discourse on Different Therapeutic Treatments”) is Japan. Currently, many acupuncture therapies practiced in the world are utilizing skills and techniques that were born in Japan. Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that the world’s acupuncture therapies practiced after the Meiji period are all, in a sense, Japanese style – this is how much Japanese therapeutic skills and techniques are acting as the bases for the rest of the world. From the current situation and the historical background, the theory that ‘the origin of acupuncture therapy is Japan’ is plausible.
Moxibustion therapy has been practiced in Japan since 701 CE when the medical officer’s system was developed. However, it must have been practiced even before, which is most likely why it was adopted as a system, though a precise record has not been found yet. However, there is a record from 414 CE (during Kofun period, 300 – 592CE) when the famous physician Kinbu 金武 from Silla came to Japan and treated Emperor Nintoku – sick at the time – with acupuncture therapy. Based on this record, it is assumed that it was around the same time when moxibustion therapy that is being practiced now came from the Korean Peninsula and China.
China, which developed the medical officers’ system earlier in the period, divided the medical positions into five. As it is written in Shurai 周禮 (“Rites of Zhou”), the five positions are ishi 医師 (doctor), shitui 疾医 (herbalist), youi 瘍医 (acumoxa therapist), shokui 食医 (nutritionist), and jyui 獣医 (veterinarian). Ishi 医師 is a doctor who diagnoses a patient. Shitui 疾医 is an internist who treats patients by mainly prescribing herbs. Youi 瘍医 is a surgeon who mainly practices acumoxa therapy. Shokui 食医 is a nutritionist who takes care of the diet such as grains and vegetables. Jyui 獣医 is a veterinarian who treats animals. Japan mimicked China and the medical officer’s system was established in 701 CE during the Asuka period. One of the differences is that ishi 医師 in Japan includes both ishi 医師 (doctor) and shitui 疾医 (herbalist). They worked as an internalist and mainly prescribed herbs. The term hondo 本道 was used to describe internal medicine. In contrast, an acumoxa therapist oversaw surgical treatments.