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Public Incorporated Foundation
Waichi Sugiyama Memorial Association
Chairman,Tsutomu Yoshida

Thank you very much for visiting our website. Our association is dedicated to honoring the legacy of Waichi Sugiyama, a blind acupuncturist and moxibustion practitioner who was active in the Edo period (1603-1868), as well as to carrying on his will and passing it on to the future.

The fact that acupuncture and moxibustion treatment has spread throughout Japan and the world today, and that the rate of independence of the visually impaired people in Japan is high, is largely due to the legacy of Waichi Sugiyama. For example, when inserting needles into treatment points, “NENSHIN method”, which needles are directly inserted into the skin by holding them between thumb and index fingers, used to be the mainstream method. After Waichi Sugiyama invented “KANSHIN method”, which needles are inserted using tube and the head of the needle slightly protruded from the tube tapped, painless and accurate needle insertion with thin needles became easier. As a result, acupuncture and moxibustion medicine developed greatly, and this led to the spread of acupuncture and moxibustion treatment not only in Japan but also throughout the world. Also, acupuncture and Anma massage techniques used to be taught verbally by masters but after Waichi Sugiyama established the “Acupuncture Treatment School”, the world's first school for the visually impaired, to teach acupuncture and massage systematically using textbooks, a number of excellent therapists were produced from among the students.

Since then, the number of visually impaired people who used acupuncture and massage as a way of making a living rapidly increased, opening the way for them to become self-reliant. Today, the rate of independence of the visually impaired in Japan is said to be higher than that of the world's visually impaired, and this is largely due to the legacy of Waichi Sugiyama.

Waichi Sugiyama Memorial Association honors the legacy of Waichi Sugiyama and passes on his will, which is to contribute to society through the art of acupuncture, moxibustion and massage, to foster human resources who will be useful to society in this field and to help the visually impaired become more independent.


History of Waichi Sugiyama
Memorial Association

On September 18, 1682, the private school in the residence of Waichi Sugiyama in Kojimachi was officially recognized by the shogunate, and was renamed “Acupuncture Treatment School”. On January 3, 1871, about 200 years after the new start, the Acupuncture Treatment School was abolished by a proclamation of the Dajokan (Grand Council of State). The school was situated in Honjo hitotsume (the area given by the fifth shogun Tsunayoshi in 1694, currently around Ejima Sugiyama Shrine).

On April 18, 1890, about 20 years after the abolition of the Acupuncture Treatment School, a group of people from various fields who felt gratitude to Waichi Sugiyama, the “founder of acupuncture and moxibustion medicine in Japan” and the “founder of the blind community”, established Sugiyama Shrine. Sugiyama Shrine was built as a reconstruction of Sokumyo-an (a shrine dedicated to the spirit of Waichi Sugiyama) in the precincts of Enoshima Shrine(Hitotsume Benten Shrine) in Chitose 1-chome, Sumida-ku, Tokyo.(In September 1952, the shrine was enshrined together with Enoshima Shrine (Hitotsume Benten-sha) and became the current “Ejima Sugiyama Shrine”.)

In May 1902, these people formed the “Sugiyama Houonkou” which held memorial services, and on September 26, 1930, the “Incorporated Foundation Waichi Sugiyama Memorial Association” was established. This period was a dark and difficult time in the world, with the start of the Great Depression in 1929, the Manchurian Incident in 1931, and the 5.15 Incident in 1932.

Before that, we experienced the Great Kanto Earthquake of September 1, 1923, the Tokyo Air Raid of March 10, 1945, which destroyed the shrine, and the global recession. Overcoming these hardships, the foundation was approved as a public interest incorporated foundation in April 2014, and made a fresh start as “Public Incorporated Foundation Waichi Sugiyama Memorial Association”. In 2016, the “Sugiyama Waichi Memorial Hall”, which serves as the center of our activities, was completed with donations from many people, and we are now engaged in various activities to honor the legacy of Waichi Sugiyama and to carry on his legacy and pass it on to the future.



Although eras have changed one after another, from the Edo period to the Meiji, Taisho, Showa, and Reiwa, the achievements of Waichi Sugiyama still shine brilliantly in the world of acupuncture and moxibustion medicine and in the world of the blind in Japan. The “Acupuncture Treatment School” established by Waichi Sugiyama was the world's first organized vocational and educational institution for the visually impaired whose tradition has been carried on by the current Special School for the Visually Impaired. As a result, the economic independence of the visually impaired in Japan has become unparalleled in the world. Also, the “KANSHIN method” and its theory, which allow the precise and painless insertion of fine needles into treatment points, have developed acupuncture and moxibustion medicine and have been used throughout the world.


On April 18, 1890, a shrine was built by the predecessors and dedicated Waichi Sugiyama as a deity. It can be thought that those who respected and worshipped Waichi Sugiyama built the shrine and enshrined him as a god as a way to keep him and his achievements alive in their memories. It may not be a suitable analogy, but it is similar to keeping music that is fading away as soon as it is played on a CD made of plastic.

Waichi Sugiyama Memorial Association will continue to preserve the legacy of Waichi Sugiyama and his achievements, and provide opportunities for the world to know about Waichi Sugiyama and his achievements in various places and ways, in the same way as people can listen to the music on CDs, and contribute to society through the art of acupuncture, moxibustion, and massage. We will carry on his legacy of helping the visually impaired become self-reliant by training people who can contribute to society in this field.

We hope that you will understand and support our various activities, and we would be grateful if you would become a member of our association and cooperate and participate in our activities.
Finally, thank you very much for visiting our website.