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DR. WILHEM ten RHYNE ON DEJIMA, NAGASAKI, 1674–1676: INTRODUCTION OF ACUPUNCTURE FROM JAPAN TO THE WESTERN WORLD

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This article reconstructs the two-year period (1674–1676) which Dr. Wilhem ten Rhyne spent on the man-made island of Dejima in Nagasaki harbor from where the Japanese maintained restricted contact with the Western world during the more than two centuries of closure. Here the physician, naturalist and scholar gathered information as well as documents in Chinese and Japanese on acupuncture and moxibustion, despite the legal prohibitions and bizarre precautions of the Japanese who attempted to keep foreigners ignorant of Japanese culture, history and science. Dr. Wilhem ten Rhyne composed the Western world’s first detailed treatise on acupuncture and moxibustion, the De Acupunctura which was published in Latin in 1683. The article addresses the involvement of the Dutch in Japan, the economic, social and political conditions on the island of Dejima, the life and achievements of ten Rhyne, his treatise on acupuncture, and his assessment of the therapeutic value of acupuncture.
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Keywords: Akupunktur; Anatomie; Christentum; Christianity; Dejima; Hottentoten; Hottentots; Jang; Japan; Jing; Koerpersaefte; Kolik; Latein; Latin; Moxiverbrennung; Nadel; Nagasaki; Wilhem ten Rhyne; Winde; Yang; Yin; acuponcture; acupuncture; aiguille; anatomie; anatomy; christianisme; colic; colique flatulente; humeurs; humours; la Japon; latin; moxa; moxibustion; needle; winds; “winds"

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Professor of Classics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

Publication date: January 1, 1980

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