Medical Writings from Several Generations

Shinka yōketsu 診家要訣 [Essential Methods of the Diagnosticians].

Three full-page woodcut illus. 81.5; 62; 81 folding leaves (pagination continuous). Three vols. Large 8vo, orig. semi-stiff patterned wrappers, orig. title slips on covers, orig. stitching. Osaka, Kyoto, & Tokyo: Kawachiya kihei 河內屋喜兵衛 et al., 1793.

Second edition (1st ed.: 1787) of this collection of three medical works passed down in the Takeda family of physicians. The book is very rare; we find no copy in North America in WorldCat.

The first of the three works, “Magical Method for Investigating the Pulse” 察脈神訣, is ascribed here to Liu Kai 劉開 of the Yuan era, with explanations attributed to Xiong Jun 熊均 of the Ming dynasty. “From the discussions of the many pulses by the former worthies, this book excerpted the four of the shallow, deep, slow, and numerous, and distinguished them clearly. The writing is simple and suitable for the beginner learner,” according to the Preface by Tachibana asomi Masatomi 橘朝臣正福, dated 1789.

The second work, “Rules for Diagnostics Explained by the Ancients” 古訓診式, was compiled by Kōhō’s father, Takeda Kōdō 竹田公道 (d. 1751), supplemented by Kōhō. At the end of the text, there is appended a “Secret Method of the Hidden Pulse” 隱脈秘訣. This method had been acquired by Kōhō’s ancestor, who had “travelled west to the Ming and obtained it,” according to Tachibana’s Preface. Takeda Teizen 竹田定前, in his Preface, dated 1793, specifies that the ancestor was well versed in “yin-yang literature, and thus started to take an interest in the art of medicine. At this time, he worried that this country lacked good doctors, so he sailed out to sea and entered the Great Ming. He travelled to the home of the Daoist master Jinweng 金翁, who transmitted all of his craft. He then obtained his writings in a number of juan, and returned to our August Japan.” Tachibana continues by saying that the texts he was talking about were “kept secret among their papers for generations and were not disseminated into the world.” Yet Kōhō, whose “duty was to practice medicine in the realm, did not dare to keep this book to himself. He wanted to make it public to the world in order to aid the masses of the realm.”

The third work, “Essentials for Examining the Stomach” 診腹精要, was written by Takeda Teikai 竹田定快, Kōhō’s great-grandfather. Teikai had read widely in the extant literature on examining the stomach, in which the process is described in detail. “The late master thought about it for a long time,” the 1793 Preface explains, “then, by chance, he acquired a small booklet of which he had not verified the author. He relied on this book, mined the ancient books, and searched the various theories, adding to it from his own experience. It can safely be said that the method of examining the stomach is most complete” in this work.

Takeda Kōhō (d. 1794) and his father were both physicians in Edo.

In addition to the aforementioned Prefaces, there is one by Kōhō, dated 1788. The first work has an additional Preface by Kōhō, dated 1787. The second one has a Preface dated 1790 and a colophon, likewise by Kōhō, dated 1787. The third work has a Preface by its author, dated 1626.

Very fine set. The original title slips on the volumes have been misplaced, so that Vol. 3 is marked as Vol. 2 and vice versa.

Price: $5,500.00

Item ID: 10117