Monday, August 11


"Harikikigaki" is a book of Japanese medical knowledge written in 1568. The book contains illustrations of various biological diseases, complete with descriptions of their symptoms as well as treatment plans. Truly, this book contains fascinating information. My favorite image and description is by far the Koseu; who can resist a parasite that has a beard, wears a hat, and likes sake?

Hizo-no-kesshaku: causes problems with the spleen, but it can be cured by ingesting shazenji (plantago seed).

Kanmushi: a harmful parasite that embeds itself in the spine, causing it to curve backward. Infected people also develop an appetite for spicy food. The herbs mokko (Saussureae radix) and byakujutsu (Atractylodes macrocephala Koidz) are effective in fighting off Kanmushi.

Jinshaku (Honton): resembles a tiny boar that runs wild through the body. Those infected with Jinshaku develop a weak pulse, a dark complexion, a craving for salty food, and bad breath. Acupuncture is an effective treatment.

Kiukan (Gyukan): lives in the chest and acts up at meal time. This critter is difficult to get rid of, but acupuncture is an effective treatment.

Kishaku: a dark red beastie that causes its host to develop an unhealthy appetite for oily food. It can be stopped by eating tiger stomach.

Koseu (Kosho): a snake-like critter with a scruffy white beard, wears a hat that protects it from medicine. It likes to drink sweet sake and it can speak.

Hishaku: found in the spleen, most often in females. Symptoms include an overpowering appetite for sweets, a yellowish complexion, and a tendency to hum. It can be stopped with acupuncture around the navel.

Hinoshu: also found in the spleen, looks like a rock and remains dormant inside the body until the host visits a crowded sightseeing area, at which time Hinoshu causes dizziness by thrashing about and creating the sensation of rocks crashing against each other. Acupuncture is an effective treatment.

1 comment:

sarah said...

i think i've had a few of those. time to get needles in the navel, i guess. i always put it off too long.