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Akuchu

Akuchu illustration

Akuchu is one of the 63 germs written in Harikikigaki, a book of medical knowledge written in 1568 by an unknown resident of Osaka.

This tiny malevolent creature is believed to have caused human illness during the 16th century in Japan.

Akuchu is found in the spleen, and consumes rice eaten by the host.

Drinking mokko is an effective antidote.

 In the Harikigaki

Japan’s Kyushu National Museum holds a copy of the Harikikigaki — a 16th century medical text of unknown authorship which claimed that diseases were caused by tiny bugs that crawled into the body. The Harikikigaki advises using acupuncture and herbs to deal with the Germs.

The Belief

Until the late 19th century, Japanese people believed illness was spread by evil kami called yakubyogami. At first these gods were thought to take human form, but later, influenced by thinking in texts from China, some people came to think of them as little creatures as small enough to enter the body. The Harikikigaki, written in 1568, is mostly about acupuncture, however, this rare text includes 63 color depictions of the various mushi (germs) believed to cause diseases.

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