The beginning of ningen dock (health checkups)|Center Hospital of National Center for Global Health and Medicine
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The beginning of ningen dock (health checkups)
Paving the way for the preventive healthcare of the future

  • On July 12, 1954, the first Ningen Dock system debuted at the First National Hospital of Tokyo (now the NCGM).
  • According to one account, “a suggestion from the publishing company Hoken Dohjinsha and discussions with Moriya Hiroshi (Dr.) of the First National Hospital led to the creation of a service called ‘short-term hospitalization for detailed physical exams,’ with Hoken Dohjinsha in charge of operations and the hospital in charge of the examinations”*1. According to another account, “after Prof. Sakaguchi Kōzō retired from teaching at Tokyo University, he took up a position at the First National Hospital, where he continued the physical examinations he conducted at Tokyo University”*2.
  • Either way, in the beginning, the examinations were administered over the course of a one-week hospitalization. Subjects of trial examinations in February 1954 include painter Mr. Higashiyama Kaii, political commentator Mr. Hosokawa Ryūgen, and Reuters journalist Mr. Tsunekawa Makot; they praised the service. Soon after, St. Luke’s International Hospital, Showa University Hospital, and Tokyo Women’s University Hospital followed suit with similar services.
  1. “The Secret Origins of Ningen Dock,” Hoken Dohjinsha
  2. “The History and Current Situation of Ningen Dock,” Nara Masaharu
  • The name Ningen Dock (Japanese for “human dock”) was inspired by ships at sea that dock in ports regularly for examinations and any necessary repairs. The term was first used by a newspaper journalist, and the name stuck.
  • July 12 was declared as “Ningen Dock Day” to commemorate this history.