It’s our belief that anyone who is acquainted with a specific Japanese acupuncture style will already appreciate the tremendous value, both clinically and culturally of Japanese acupuncture as a whole. From the gentleness of Toyohari, the dynamism of Nagano or Matsumoto styles, to the simplicity of Shonishin, there is within Japanese acupuncture a wealth of invention and creativity, still rooted in classical concepts of balancing and regulating Ki.
Acupuncture in Japan is different to acupuncture in China, not least in that there is no one unifying style taught in universities and colleges nationwide. Rather there is a huge diversity of styles, both old and new, and these styles are in constant evolution and competition.
So while one of the greatest cultural exports from China is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Japan has no single cultural equivalent. Instead, knowledge of different Japanese acupuncture styles has been passed to the West through a small group of Japanese emigrant teachers and other Western teachers who have trained in Japan.
Some have argued that there is no such thing as ‘’Japanese acupuncture’’ and others have argued that within the diversity of Japanese acupuncture styles, there are distinguishing features, for example, the use of guide tubes and shallow needling and the strong emphasis on palpation for diagnosis. This piece is not really the place for this debate but I will simply say this. We could also argue that there is such diversity in Japanese cuisine that we can’t really generalise about it, yet clearly there are internationally recognised dishes that are Japanese and they look and feel very different to fish and chips.
What both sides of that discussion can agree on is that there is a diversity of acupuncture styles emerging from Japan. While in the West, TCM acupuncture is by far the predominant model of acupuncture, there is a growing number of trainings in other styles, including Japanese acupuncture methods.
WHY DO WE NEED A DIRECTORY?
So why do we need a directory? Because we’re hard to find! One of the difficulties of finding an acupuncturist in the West who is trained in a Japanese acupuncture style is a lack of data and a lack of a directory. We have no idea how many we are, outside Japan, nor who and where we are. Japanese style acupuncturists are hidden within the greater population of acupuncturists or remain isolated in their own community listings. A common refrain going around acupuncture groups online is ‘’Does anyone know a Japanese acupuncture practitioner in this city in that country?’’
Sayoshi is an attempt to remedy this lack, a big tent solution that welcomes all practitioners of Japanese acupuncture, of whatever style, and creates an online database that enables people to find us, wherever we work. The directory will also enable members to create their own, professional looking profile, and will provide a central place to for trainers to promote their classes and for practitioners to search for them, nearby or far away. What’s more, we hope to host our own acupuncture knowledge base, an acupuncture wiki of Japanese terms and concepts.
In this way, Sayoshi will provide one central platform for all styles of Japanese acupuncture, a place where we can develop our global reach, communicate, learn and grow together. Especially during 2020 and the coronavirus outbreak, it is more important than ever to maintain close community contact.