Medieval Medicine

Archive of messages exchanged on the pmjs mailing list from 9 March, 2000.

Question raised by: Ulf Undmark
Discussants: Jacqueline Stone, Wayne Farris, Joan Piggott

Signatures omitted or abbreviated. For who's who see

Copyright of each message belongs to its author.
See general note on editing.

return to: PMJS archive index / PMJS index / members / translations

From: U.Undmark
Date: 9 Mar 00 15:44:07 MET
Subject: Medieval medicine?

I need some help regarding a subject of wich I have no knowledge of at all. Hopefully there are members of this list who do know something about medieval/premodern Japanese medicine.

I have a feeling that most of the medical knowledge derived from China, but were there any major differences between the Japanese and Chinese views of this science?

I would also like to know if this science was of any interest to nobles, monks or warriors, leading them to engage in its study?

Anyone have any thoghts or ideas?

Ulf Undmark

From: Jacqueline Stone
Date: Thu, 09 Mar 2000 09:57:01 -0500
Subject: Re: Medieval medicine?

Andrew Goble at the University of Oregon has been working for some time on medieval Japanese medical practices and is well informed about this subject.

Jackie Stone

From: Wayne Farris
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2000 23:41:55 -0500
Subject: RE: Medieval medicine?

Dear Ulf,

I'm not the expert in medieval medicine that Andrew is, but I have a few thoughts, especially if we can extend your query back to the Nara/Heian periods.

To my knowledge, medicine in those periods derived primarily from three origins (India--through Buddhism and via China and Korea), China directly, and native traditions. Also, if there were source materials, I imagine Korea also would have been a source.

A good place to start to answer your question is the series of books by Dr. Hattori Toshiro. He wrote tomes on Nara, Heian, Kamakura, and Muromachi-Unification medicine and disease.
Wayne Farris

From: Joan Piggott
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 10:29:10 -0800
Subject: RE: Medieval medicine?

I do not do medical history but I did buy a new book from Yoshikawa two years ago on medicine in classical times (kodai, Nara into Heian). If you get hold of a recent Yoshikawa kobunkan list, you should be able to spot it. And there is the translation into English of the Heian classic of Japanese medicine, <Ishimpo>, published by Brill.

J. Piggott,
Associate Professor of Pre-1600 Japanese History,
Cornell University

From: Wayne Farris
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 18:35:07 -0500
Subject: RE: Medieval medicine?

Dear all,

And to supplement Joan's comment, there's a new book (could this also be the one Joan is thinking of?) called NIHON KODAI NO IRYOO SEIDO, published by MEICHO KANKOOKAI. The author is Maruyama Yumiko.