chapter  6
11 Pages

OCCUPATIONS AND CRAFTS

DOCTORS AND CRAFTSMEN No society can develop or prosper unless it includes men who are specialists in an art, a handicraft, a science or a trade, men by their very nature being dependent on each other not only for their subsistence but also for everything affecting their creature comforts. Therefore, there usually sprang up, in every type of society, what one might almost call ‘guilds’ grouping together men with the same skill, either because they felt the need to exchange or to transmit the secrets of their art, or because they wanted to guard these secrets more closely in order to ensure their own livelihood and to discourage competition. There were also some occupations which were the prerogative of certain families, so there was no need for them to form guilds. From the beginning of Japanese history, family groupings of craftsmen are to be found, ‘men of a common art’ known as be, whose secrets and tricks of the trade were handed down from father to son. The same must have been true of certain occupations which, strictly speaking, did not belong to a real craft, but which had none the less some of the characteristics of an art, like medicine.