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What is Japanese Health Check?

Comprehensive health check,It originated in Europe and America. In order to reduce the claim risk, many insurance companies required a medical exam when buying a life term insurance and medical insurance.

Japan is the most advanced country in preventive medicine. The development of preventive medicine has undergone three waves of revolution and innovation since 1900.

▸ The 1st Period of Preventive Medicine (1900~)

Two great Japanese scholars made great contribution to the preventive medicine in the early 1900s

1 Shibasaburo Kitasato,〈1851-1931〉the founder of the immune therapy, and Behring (a German scholar) developed the serum therapy for Diphtheria and Tetanus together, and started the immune shot. The Nobel prize for medical physiology in 1901 were to be given to Behring and Kitasato (Kitasato is the most qualified candidate). However, due to the scandal of Beriberi in Japan, Kitasato lost the opportunity , and only the Behring got the Nobel prize. Kitasato returned to Japan from Germany ( Koch research Unit ) and founded the infectious disease research center, the Kitasato research center, Keio University Medical Department.  Kitasato is the president of the Japan Preventive Medicine Association, the board chairman of the 1st generation Japanese physician Association.
2 Kanehiro Takaki〈1849-1920〉:Founder of the life-style diseases and the diet therapy.He is a scholar from the United Kingdom, the Japan Navy chief inspector, and founded the Tokyo Jikei Medical University. The arguments of the Beriberi,whether the cause of Beriberi is bacteria-related or diet- related lasted 30 years. Takaki undertook the test of English-style vegetable soup versus white-rice diet on the crews in 2 navy ships. After 100 days, the crews who took the English-style vegetable soup did not have Beriberi, but half of the crews who took the white-rice diet developed Beriberi and 20% of them died. Takaki attributed the decreased Beriberi rate to vegetable diet and Takaki is known as the founder of clinical trials and the diet therapy.

▸ The 2nd Period of Preventive Medicine〈1954 ~〉

In 1954, Ningen Dock total body health check-up was introduced throughout Japan, new milestone for services was established.

In 1938, two congressmen of the Constitutional Democratic Party , Yukio Sakurauchi and Magoichi Tawara, were admitted for health check-ups, and they held a press conference beforehand to prevent their opponents from spreading rumors that they were seriously ill. Their stay in hospital were compared to

“a ship returning to its home port and going into dry dock to inspect its bottom and screw for damage, perform maintenance for its engine and other equipment, and give the crew a rest, in preparation for the next voyage”.

Then the term “Ningen Dock-Human Dock” was used for health check-up.


1 1. 1954: The Ningen Dock was started in 1938 at the Tokyo First Hospital, but due to the Second World, the Ningen Dock was hold until 1954, when 橋木寬敏 the president of the Second Generation from the Tokyo First Hospital be reinitiated  the Ningen Dock. Then the Ningen Dock spread to all the medical centers in Japan. Now everyone in Japan knows what Ningen dock means.
In 1974, Ningen Dock was linked to the automatic health checkup system.
In 1999, Ningen Dock Specialist system was established.
2 1. The purpose of health checkup
Change of life-style
Early detection and early treatment of cancer, stroke, CV〈Secondary Prevention〉
3 1. The specialty of the Ningen Dock:

It is more difficult to find the risk factors for those so called healthy people (people with no disease) then making a diagnosis for people who are already sick.

▸ The 3rd Period of Preventive Medicine (2008~)

In April 2008, a law is passed for specially designed health checkup and specially designed guidance for keeping one’s health system

All the hospitals in the country that participate in the health checkup should find the risk factors from the life-style related diseases for the 40-74 age groups and established data bases into the computers, aggressively proceed to level by level guidance for keeping one’s health, established citizens’ health data base follow up and correct the progressively worsening life-style diseases, thus saving the trend of the massive medical expenses of the aging society.

▸ Features of Japanese Style Health Check

1 1.The Japanese request the best of quality, they have plans and order, and take action step by step.
2 2.Japan takes the leadership in preventive medicine, and so in immune therapy, life-style related diseases and diet therapy.
3 3.Japan initiated hospitalized-style-total-body-health-checkup since 1938, it’s the founder of health checkup for the human race.
Japan Society of Ningen Dock is established in 1959.
The concepts of preemptive and preventive medicine includes:
▪ primary prevention
▪ secondary prevention
▪ tertiary prevention
▪ quaternary prevention
4 From conventional health checkup (disease-oriented) to anti-aging health checkup(wellness-oriented).