|11th International Conference on the History of
Science in East Asia ||Friday, 19 August 2005,
10.30–11.00, Kerschensteiner Saal |
第十一届国际东亚科学史会议15.–20. August 2005, Deutsches Museum, Munich, Germany
The Historical Tendency of Acceptance of Chinese Medicine in
Surrounding Countries – From a Study of Extant old Medical Documents –
Ibaraki University, Japan
From the past until the present, nations around
China have been the recipients of Chinese medical knowledge. That
knowledge has been examined, incorporated as needed, and has
contributed significantly to the formation of their medical. By
analytical investigation of extant old medical books, the overall
formation process and characteristics of their traditional medicine
have become clear.
During the earlier period of acceptance, Japan
and Korea were influenced by comprehensive medical works 醫學全書 of
（宋） and Yuan
（元） dynasties, and they
compiled comprehensive medical works which quoted suitable parts from
these Chinese books. Representative of such works are the Japanese
"Ishin Pou（醫心方）" (984), and the Korean " Uibang Yuch'wi（醫方類聚）" (1477).
In addition, Japanese and Koreans also collected their own medicines
and drugs, and compiled indigenous texts. Two examples here are the
Japanese "Daidou Ruijiu Hou（大同類聚方）" (808) and the Korean " Hyang-yak
Chipsng Bang（鄕藥集成方）" (1433).
Later, in what we might refer to as the early modern
period, we find in neighboring countries the compilation of
comprehensive clinical medical works most suitable for medicines and
drugs available in those countries. Examples of these include the
Japanese "Keiteki Shyu（啓迪集）" (1574), the Korean " Tong-i Bogam（東醫寳鑒）"
(1611) and the Vietnamese "Y-tong Tamlinh（醫宗心領）" (1770).These works
primarily quoted from Ming
dynasty clinical medical works.
Besides, each country continued reprinting various Ming
dynasty comprehensive medical
works, and clinical texts for smallpox up to the latter half of the
19th century. In China, by contrast, we see no such fashion of
reprinting these earlier works. A mixture of Chinese characters and
native language in translation was also a phenomenon common to works
produced in these neighboring countries.
On the other hand, we also find a phenomenon
specific to Japan. Chinese medical classics and research books on them
written by Chinese were reprinted 141 times in Japan. However, such
books were reprinted only 16 (or 20) times in Korea, and I have been
unable to find any reprints in Vietnam and Mongolia.
In addition, in the Edo
（江戸） period alone, 797(or 847)
kinds of research books on Chinese medical classics were written by
Japanese. Again, by contrast, only one kind of such a book was written
by Koreans, 6 kinds of such book were written by Vietnamese, no such
book was written by Mongolians.
Why did only Japanese research Chinese medical
classics so much? This phenomenon would seem to spring from the fact
that only Japan is an island country. Because the traffic between Japan
and China was extremely difficult, the Japanese could not learn from
the Chinese directly. That is why the Japanese saw a book as a teacher
and studied these difficult classics without being able to consult
Also, only Japan had no experience of long-term war
with China and domination by them before the middle of the 19th
century. Therefore it was needless for Japan to eliminate strong
influence of China and to emphasize own culture. Consequently the
Japanese felt a closeness to Chinese culture, and studied their
classics. On the other hand, we find that in Korea and Vietnam the
Chinese works used were mainly clinical works. The reason for this
seems to be, in the face of strong cultural pressure, a
reluctance to study classical works, and their theories, which were not
seen as directly related to clinical needs.
There is a strong possibility that we would find a
similar phenomenon in the acceptance of Chinese classics in other
fields as well.
6 June 2005