History of the Japan Society of Acupuncture and Moxibustion (JSAM)
1. JSMA and JAMS during the 1940s–1970s
Thence forward, many institutes or scientific groups have assembled and disassembled, and by around 1950, two groups became the most outstanding in size and quality: Nihon Shinkyu Igaku Kai (日本鍼灸医学会, Japan Society of Medical Acupuncture: JSMA) established in 1948, and the Nihon Shinkyu Chiryo Gakkai (日本鍼灸治療学会, Japan Acupuncture and Moxibustion Society: JAMS), established in 1951. JSMA, chaired by Dr. Kyugo SASAGAWA (笹川久吾) M.D., Ph.D., had as its main objective scientific research on the medical mechanism of acupuncture and moxibustion. Its centers of activities were medical colleges in western Japan, i.e., Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, etc., and its members consisted mainly of medical doctors, medical students, and some acupuncturists.
JAMS, chaired by Dr. Etsunosuke HIGUCHI (樋口鉞之助) Ph.D., dealt with scientific research on the therapeutical art of acupuncture and moxibustion. Its centers of activities were medical and acupuncture colleges in eastern Japan, i.e., Tokyo, Tohoku etc., and members consisted mainly of acupuncturists, acupuncture students, and some medical doctors and students.
In 1977, when the two societies cooperated in organizing the Fifth World Conference of Acupuncture of SIA (International Society of Acupuncture, with its head office in Paris), staff members of both societies realized that it would be more beneficial to merge the two groups for the progress of acupuncture science. The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) of Japan also felt that the two should be merged for the better administration and control of NGO researchers.
2. JSA (then JSAM) during the 1980s–2000s
Today, JSAM actively works on the Annual Scientific Meeting, with the different Regional Divisions taking turns in hosting it. Many local small and medium-size lecture/study meetings, publication of a quarterly magazine and a bimonthly newspaper, scientific research and study, and national and international exchanges of scientific news are just some of the many varied activities of the Society. It encourages and subsidizes scientific activities of educational institutions and any other activity deemed to meet its objective. Its quarterly publication, the Zen Nippon Shinkyu Gakkai Zasshi (全日本鍼灸学会雑誌, Journal of the Japan Society of Acupuncture and Moxibustion: JJSAM) is widely disseminated.
JSAM has provided services to WHO for the development of acupuncture science. It played a key role in the development of the WHO Standard Acupuncture Nomenclature for 1981-1989 (Standard Acupuncture Nomenclature, Second Edition. WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific, Manila, 1993). The publication is now widely used in the world. During the First Meeting of the Working Group on Standardization of Acupuncture Nomenclature in Manila, Philippines, in 1982, Dr. Yukio KUROSU (黒須幸男) proposed the establishment of the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies (WFAS), which was finally set up in 1987 after much debate and discussion. JSA hosted the WFAS Third World Conference on Acupuncture (WCA’93) in Kyoto in 1993 with more than 3,000 participants. During WCA’93, the Workshop on Clinical Research Methodology on Acupuncture was held. It paved the way for the organization of the WHO Working Group on Clinical Research Methodology, which met in Aomori, Japan, in 1994 and developed “Guidelines for Clinical Research on Acupuncture” (WHO Regional Publication, Western Pacific Series No.15, 1995). The guidelines served as a springboard for the development of evidence-based acupuncture.
The present number of registered members of JSAM is approximately 3,200, composed of medical doctors/researchers, acupuncturists, and acupuncture students. The Executive Board of JSAM consists of 20 Directors, among whom one President and two Vice-Presidents are elected. The Board of Counselors has 48 elected members from all Regional Divisions. Dr. Hideo YAMAMURA (山村秀夫) was the second president of JSAM (1989-1998), Dr. Shohachi TANZAWA (丹沢章八) M.D., Ph.D. was the third president (1998 – 2004), and Prof. Tadashi YANO（矢野忠）Ph. D. was the fourth president (2004-2008). Now Dr. Shuji GOTO（後藤修司）Ph. D. has succeeded as the president of the society.
3. Increasing academic exchange in the East Asian area
JSAM, along with the global movement of evidence-based medicine (EBM), adopted a new policy in 1998 to strengthen research activities in the field and several randomized controlled trials (RCT) are now ongoing, under the support of the academic department.
To facilitate the academic exchange of scientific acupuncture research in the East Asian area, JSAM signed an agreement with the “Korean Acupuncture and Moxibustion Society (KAMS)” and “Korean Oriental Medical Society (KOMS)” on 14 February, 2004. According to this agreement, JSAM formally started collaborating in a research program, “Japan-Korea Workshop on Acupuncture and EBM”, with KAMS in Chiba in 2004. An actual preparatory meeting was held at Takamatsu in 2003. Since then, series of the “Japan-Korea Workshop on Acupuncture and EBM” has been held in the annual meeting of JSAM: 1st at Chiba in 2004, 2nd at Fukuoka in 2005, 3rd at Kanazawa in 2006 and 4th at Okayama in 2007, and also in 13th ICOM (International Congress of Oriental Medicine) at Daegu in 2005.
From 2003, the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific (WHO/WPRO) has been promoting the standardization of traditional medicine in the Western Pacific region. Several standardization projects are now ongoing and JSAM supports 3 projects: “Informal Consultation on Development of International Acupuncture Points Locations“ (from 31st October, 2003), “Informal Consultation on Development of International Standard Terminology in Traditional Medicine” (from 20th October, 2004), and “Informal Consultation on Information Standardization in Traditional Medicine”. With the aim of collaborating in these WHO/WPRO projects, JSAM set up 2 committees: “Standardization of Acupuncture Point Location Committee” and “Task Force for Standardization of Acupuncture”.
JSAM has actively been involved in the WHO project on Development of International Standard Acupuncture Point Locations since 2003, eventually hosted the Formal Consultation Meeting on 31 October to 2 November, 2006 at Tsukuba, Japan, where the international standard locations of 361 acupoints have been decided.
In addition, JSAM hosted “The International Symposium on Evidence Based Acupuncture Now” at Kyoto, Japan in 20-21 November, 2006. The purposes of this symposium was 1) to present recent evidence of effectiveness and safety of acupuncture treatment on “the osteoarthritis of the knee” by famous international researchers, and 2) to present detailed information on Japanese acupuncture and moxibustion regarding history, educational programs, national licensing system and various diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. The symposium had a great success with more than 200 participants including eight invited speakers from abroad.
Now, JSAM is making every effort to contribute to the scientific development of acupuncture/moxibustion medicine. We welcome all academic societies who share the same goal.