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The 22nd volume of the Ishinpō. The volume which has an only figure also in the Ishinpō

Ishinpō (医心方, ishinpō or ishinhō) is the oldest surviving Japanese medical text. It was completed in 984 by Tamba Yasuyori and is 30 volumes in length. The work is partly based on a Chinese medical work called Zhubing Yuanhou Lun 诸病原候论 (Treatise on the Many Illnesses), compiled by Sui Dynasty author Chao Yuanfang. Many of the texts cited in Ishinpō have been lost in China, and have only survived to the present through their inclusion in the work. It is a national treasure of Japan.[1]

The structural organization of the text is as follows:

Volume Subject
1 Overview
2 Acupuncture and moxibustion
3 Internal medicine
4 Dermatology
5 Otolaryngology
6 Internal medicine
7 Surgery and internal medicine
8 Internal medicine
9 Internal medicine
10 Internal medicine
11 Internal medicine
12 Internal medicine
13 Internal medicine
14 Internal medicine
15 Surgery
16 Surgery
17 Surgery
18 Surgery
19 Pharmacology
20 Pharmacology
21 Gynaecology
22 Obstetrics
23 Obstetrics
24 Obstetrics and gynaecology
25 Pediatrics
26 Health
27 Health
28 Human sexual behavior
29 Dietary health
30 Dietary health

The Ishinpō is notable for preserving some of the Taoist sexual manuals from the Han to the Tang dynasty. The twenty-eighth section of the Ishinpō contains a complete transcription of a Daoist text known as The Classic of Sunu which is a dialogue between the Dark Maiden and the Yellow Emperor, with the former providing advice on sexual practices to the latter.

While the text is written in kanbun, Japanese terms are written to the side in Man'yōgana for plants, animals, and minerals.


  1. ^ Yoshida (2001: 192)


  • Mishima, Yasuyuki (2002). Ishinpō -- Dai 28 kan: Bōnai-hen. Izumi Shobō. ISBN 4-900138-71-1. 
  • Wile, Douglas. The Art of the Bedchamber: The Chinese Sexual Yoga Classics including Women’s Solo Meditation Texts. Albany: State University of New York, 1992.
  • Yoshida, Kanehiko; Hiroshi Tsukishima; Harumichi Ishizuka; Masayuki Tsukimoto (2001). Kuntengo Jiten (in Japanese). Tōkyō: Tōkyōdō Shuppan. ISBN 4-490-10570-3.