Once you get him going, Yamasaki has a surprisingly cheerful personality, and never stops laughing even between conversations. But his facial expression changes completely as soon as he faces a patient. It is as if an experienced swordsman is fighting with a real sword. He says that missing an acupuncture point by a mere 2 mm would be unacceptable. His acupuncture and moxibustion clinic, which never closes, opens at seven every morning. He has regular customers who come from all over Kyushu. They ask for “Dai Sensei (Big Doc)” and not “Waka Sensei (Young Doc),” who is the fifth generation of the clinic.

 

Yamasaki was born as the eldest son. His father passed away when Yamasaki was 7 years old, and he became an acupuncture and moxibustion practitioner at the age of 17 in order to continue his family business. Before the war, there was a time when medical services were hard to come by, with many people suffering from an illness or in pain knocking on the door of his clinic. He, of course, also made frequent house calls. In particular, word spread about his procedure for treating women who had trouble nursing after childbirth just by word of mouth. He says that he made house calls all over Kyushu.

 

Yamasaki, whose job it is to treat patients, does not like doctors. He loved to smoke cigarettes until he was 80, he still drinks a cup of shochu (a distilled alcoholic beverage) every evening, and up until he was 90, he would finish a bottle in two or three days. Yamasaki is not a picky eater and eats the same amount as his son and his wife, who also cooperate the clinic and live with him. He has never taken any medicine and has never had a serious illness. Part of the reason why he has been able to maintain his health is the careful attention provided by his family. In his daily routine, he never complains or sighs. This positive mental attitude is most likely the secret to his longevity.

Mitsuo Yamasaki

Born in in Izumi City in 1913. In 1931, he obtained his acupuncture and moxibustion practitioner license. Today, both he and his son, Takao, who became an acupuncture and moxibustion practitioner after years as a corporate worker, treat patients at the Yamasaki Acupuncture and Moxibustion Physical Therapy Clinic. The younger Yamasaki handles much of the duties.

Cooperation: Family RINRI Association, Satsumasendai City; Kiyoko Takezaki, RINRI Institute of Ethics, Izumi City

Translation: Media Research, Inc.

Spirit and Spine
‘Kitohone’

created by
THE SPIRIT AND SPINE
CREATIVE FORCE,Tokyo

project direction
Gaku Okubo (ISUKE INC.)
photography
Yoshitomo Tanaka (Vivot)
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ISUKE INC. and ICA
title calligraphy
Kenryo Hara (Kikkokai)