Osaka, the Merchant's Capital of Early Modern Japan

By James L. McClain; Wakita Osamu | Go to book overview

A P P E N D I X
Mr. Fu's Advice to Physicians
(Fushi ikai no ryaku)

The work of the physician is only to help other human beings and not to promote the self.This is the basic tenet of the profession. Not seeking idleness or thinking about fame, one must simply abandon the self and pledge to save others. No other work is involved than protecting lives, restoring people from illness, and relieving their pain.

When encountering a patient, see only the patient. See not high or low, poor or wealthy. Consider the gain within yourself in comparing the tears of gratitude in the eyes of the poor with the handful of gold given by the wealthy. Think deeply about this.

When applying your method address the afflicted person as the exclusive subject. Never rely on the hit-or-miss method. Do not cling to biases or rely on careless testing. Always be disciplined and detailed.

Besides perfecting medical skills, one also must strive to speak and act in ways that will encourage trust in the patient. However, simply to rely on the latest trends and present deceptive theories to become persuasive is truly shameful.

Every evening review once again the cases treated during the day, and document these in detail. As they accumulate toward a book, these may be of use to yourself and to the patients as well as to others more broadly.

In calling on a patient, it is best to concentrate on making a detailed diagnosis in a single visit rather than on making several visits. However, to be so overly self‐ confident as to deny the need for repeated examinations is detestable.

It is the calling of the physician to provide relief to the suffering of even the incurably ill. To turn away from this without reflection is contrary to the human way. Even though there is no hope of saving the patient, to provide relief is to practice the method of compassion [jinjutsu]. Try to prolong that life even for a minute. Do not say that recovery is impossible and convey this in your language and manner.

Reflect on the lack of wealth of the patient. In seeking to extend life, should the capital that ties that life together be taken away, what sort of profit is there? Weigh this thoughtfully in treating the poor.

____________________
Based on the text contained in Ogata Tomio, Ogata Kōan den ( Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1963), pp. 146-48, and Momose Meiji, Tekijuku no kenkyū ( Tokyo: PHP Bunko, 1989), pp. 34‐ 36. A translation also appears in Readings in Tokugawa Thought, 2d ed., Select Papers, vol. 9 (Center for East Asian Studies, University of Chicago, 1994), pp. 253-55.

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