vendredi 23 février 2018

Yoshin ryu Jujutsu , Eastern & Western medecines and Sakkatsu-ho

Yoshitoki Shirobei Akiyama ( 秋山四朗兵衛義時) who was a physician and accomplished budoka from Nagasaki and is said to have founded Yōshin-ryū (楊心流) ("The School of the Willow Heart"). This happened before 1671. Yoshin Ryu JuJutsu  is seen as a classical Japanese fighting system traditionally.

Supposedly Yoshitoki Akiyama was inspired by the willow trees, which yielded to the heavy winter snow and thus avoided damage. The character for yo ( 楊 ) refers to a type of upright branching willow tree (红皮柳  Salix sinopurpurea) .  It is commonly found along yangzhou  揚州 "the willow city "  a prefecture-level city in central Jiangsu Province, China. Yangzhou city is sitting on the north bank of the Yangtze river.

The Akiyama line of Yōshin-ryū is perhaps the most influential school of jūjutsu to exist in Japan. By the late Edo Period, Akiyama Yōshin-ryū and its descendants had spread all over Japan.

Yoshitoki Akiyama studied medicine and Chinese boxing - whether in China or Japan remains unclear. His system of martial study integrated existing Japanese combat forms of Jujutsu with an  Chinese striking system (called Kenpo  拳法 in some yoshin ryu scrolls).


Medicine during the Edo period was as five separate schools of medicine that were practiced in Japan. Each of these schools was based on the Chinese medical tradition. In the sixth century, Chinese medicine, kanpō, was brought to Japan by Buddhist priests. Kanpō utilized Chinese herbs, acupuncture, moxibistion and massage.  

Chinese medicine is based on the principle that the body, like the universe, can potentially achieve “a state of dynamic equilibrium if no strain is imposed on the system.” Unfortunately, the body was constantly disturbed by internal and external influences which manifest themselves as either deficiencies (ying) or excesses (yang) of energy. Because patients were seen as part of nature, illness was caused by these continual environmental forces acting on their bodies.


Under the maritime restrictions imposed by the Tokugawa shogunate in the 1630s, which would remain in force until the Bakumatsu Period (1850s), the only foreigners permitted to trade at the port of Nagasaki were the Dutch and the Chinese. While only about 15-20 Dutchmen lived on Dejima at a time, Chinese residents of Nagasaki numbered in the thousands.

Deshima island in Nagasaki Bay in 1825

Western medicine slowly filtered into Japan during the Tokugawa period (1600-1858).
Western medicine was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese and Spaniards, but they made few contributions to medicine in Japan. The true cultural exchange between Japanese and European physicians occurred with the introduction of Dutch traders into Japan during Tokugawa Iemitsu’s rein.
By 1641, the Dutch had relocated their trading post to the island Deshima in Nagasaki Bay. The staff of the trading post on Deshima almost always included a European physician. These physicians played a vital role in the dissemination of Western medical knowledge to Japanese physicians and scholars throughout the Edo period. While this transference was hindered by the Bakufu’s severing of ties with the rest of Europe, Western medical knowledge slowly spread. By 1630, Tokugawa Iemitsu had effectively banned most Western books from Japan.

Due to Japan’s isolation from the Europe, the translation and study of Dutch books became synonymous with Western studies. While the term rangaku literally translates to “Dutch learning,” rangaku scholars studied other European works as well
 While Japanese variants of Chinese medicine dominated Japanese medical practice, western medicine made significant inroads and penetrated Japan.

Historian John Bowers claims that Western medicine ultimately triumphed over Chinese medicine due to the perseverance of Japanese students, scholars and European physicians stationed at Deshima. Over this time period, Japan experienced a gradual expansion of western medicine throughout Japan due to the concerted and dedicated efforts of some of the most important Japanese medical practitioners and advocates.

The key event in the expansion of Western medicine in Japan during the eighteenth century was the publication of Sugita Gempaku’s Kaitai Shinsho 解体新書 (New Treatise on Dissection) in 1774. Shigehisa Kuriyama described the publication of this book as “a major turning point in Japanese cultural history.

The Kaitai Shinsho was a translation of the Johann Adam Kulman’s Anatomische Tabellen (1731). Kulman’s book was an extremely accurate Dutch book on anatomy. The book contained numerous lithographs of human anatomy. While Katai Shinsho did not become the standard for Japanese medicine until the Meiji era, it would eventually play a vital role in transforming Japanese medicine.

Anatomische Tabellen  and  Kaitai Shinsho

 Extracts from the Katai Shinsho 

Short video in Japanese about Sugita Gempaku’s Kaitai Shinsho


Sakkatsu-ho (method to save life and to kill) contained teaching for use vital point (kyusho) and to use rescucitation techniques (kappo). We can see these methods exist exactly the same in Shin no Shinto Ryu and Tenjin  Shinyo Ryu, which are both from their parent's school : Akiyama Yoshin Ryu.
By translating and studying the Koryu Shinto Yoshin ryu Keiraku no maki we was  abble to understand that the Yoshin ryu school contained teaching from both chinese medecine and western medecine for killing methods and revival methods. 



 Koryu Shinto Yoshin ryu Keiraku no maki Hōreki 2 (1752) 

Atemi Gokui part of  Koryu Shinto Yoshin ryu Keiraku no maki Hōreki 2 (1752) 
  17 kyusho  listed below:

  • 草靡 Sobi Rubbing grass / Frottement de l' Herbe  (proverbe confucéen)
  •  秘中 Hichu secret center / centre secret  
  • 人中 Jinchu center of the man / centre de l' homme 
  • 烏乱 Koran   Raven revolted  / corbeau révolté  
  • 獨鈷 Dokko One handed Vajra / Vajra à une seule main (vajra : « diamant » et « foudre »  instrument   dans la tradition bouddhique vajrayāna (« voie du diamant »)  
  • 烏兎 Uto hare and raven /  lièvre et corbeau (Yin & Yang : les deux yeux)  
  • 明間 Meikan Bright space / Espace lumineux 
  • 松風 Matsukaze pine wind / vent des pins 
  • 村雨 Murasame village rain / pluie villageoise 
  • 釣鐘 Tsukigane hanging bell / cloche suspendue (cloches bouddhistes) 
  • 電光 Denko  Lightning bright flash /  Foudre éclair brillant 
  • 月影 Tsukikage Shadow of the moon / Ombre de la lune 
  • 雁下 Ganka below the Wild Goose / sous l' Oie sauvage 
  • 少寸 Shosun  1 petit pouce / 1 petit sun (sun : unité de mesure correspondant à environ 3cm ) 
  • 明星 Myojo star bright / étoile brillante 
  • 氷月 Suigetsu Moon on the water / Lune sur l' eau 
  • 貫元 Kangen  Old Kan / Ancien Kan (kan est une ancienne unité de mesure japonaise correspondant   à 3.75 kg)

Tenjin ShinYo ryu kyusho

Tenjin ShinYo ryu Chi no maki (scroll of earth) listing 7 kyusho 
(Uto, Kasumi, Jinchu, Dokko, Hichu, Matsukaze, Murasame)

 Shin no shinto ryu chart with organs

Chart from Shin no Shinto ryu Jodan Keiraku no maki 1807

Tenjin ShinYo ryu jujutsu 's kyusho locations in relation to organs,
(to be compared with this picture just below)


Kappo (活法 kappō, "resuscitation techniques") is a contraction of the two Japanese words Katsu (resuscitation) and Ho (method). kappo refers to resuscitation techniques used to revive someone who has been choked to the point of unconsciousness, to lessen the pain of a strike to the groin, to help someone drowned or to stop a bleeding nose...

Eri Kappo  method from 1894 manual


Sakkatsu-ho 殺活 (method to save life and to kill) in Old Jujutsu schools contained teaching for use vital points (kyusho) and to use rescucitation techniques (kappo) .
Around 1700, old japanese Jujutsu masters have combined old Japanese Jujutsu , Chinese kenpo methods with teachings from Eastern medecine and Western medecine to make a synthesis which allowed them an more effective and pragmatic method of application .

  Related Koryu Jujutsu documents analyzed for our study :
  •  Tenjin shinyo ryu Jin no maki Meiji 4 = 1871 
  •  Shin no shindo ryu Jodan Keiraku no maki (bunka 4 - 1807)
  •  Koryu Shinto Yoshin ryu Keiraku no maki Hōreki 2 (1752) 
  •  Atemi Gokui section from Koryū Yōshin Shintō Ryū Mokuroku (1752)  

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