PUBLICATION> Buddhism and Medicine in Japan: A Topical Survey (500-1600 CE) of a Complex Relationship

Katja Triplett's picture

Dear colleagues,


I am pleased to announce the publication of my new book:


Katja Triplett:

Buddhism and Medicine in Japan: A Topical Survey (500-1600 CE) of a Complex Relationship (Religion and Society 81),

Berlin: De Gruyter 2019, 259 p., 8 images, EUR 86,95 / USD 99.99 / GBP 79.00

ISBN 978-3-11-057621-4.


About the book:


The book demonstrates the close link between medicine and Buddhism in early and medieval Japan. It may seem difficult to think of Japanese Buddhism as being linked to the realm of medical practices since religious healing is usually thought to be restricted to prayers for divine intervention. There is a surprising lack of scholarship regarding medicinal practices in Japanese Buddhism although an overwhelming amount of primary sources proves otherwise. 


A careful re-reading of well-known materials from a study-of-religions perspective, together with in some cases a first-time exploration of manuscripts and prints, opens new views on an understudied field. The book presents a topical survey and comprises chapters on treating sight-related diseases, women’s health, plant-based materica medica and medicinal gardens, and finally horse medicine to include veterinary knowledge. 


Terminological problems faced in working on this material – such as ‘religious’ or ‘magical healing’ as opposed to ‘secular medicine’ – are assessed. The book suggests focusing more on the plural nature of the Japanese healing system as encountered in the primary sources and reconsidering the use of categories from the European intellectual tradition.






1. Buddhism, Medicine and Magic: The Boundary Problem

2. Operating with Buddhism

3. The Eye I: An Organ as a Site of Empowerment and Healing 

4. The Eye II: Buddhist Healing and Living with Visual Impairment 

5. Women: Care of the Reproductive Female Body 

6. Plants: Materia medica, Medicinal Gardens and Panaceas 

7. Horses and Equine Medicine 

Conclusion: Boundaries, Maps and Types of Othering

List of Images

Please consult the publisher’s website for further details:


Best wishes


Katja Triplett



Dr. Katja Triplett

Associate Fellow
Humanities Center of Advanced Studies "Multiple Secularities – Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities"
Leipzig University
Nikolaistraße 8-10
04109 Leipzig