Some historical information about healing in Japan:
Literary and historical texts from the eighth century onward record countless examples of priests being employed to pray or perform incantations for the recovery of those suffering from severe illnesses, particularly members of the imperial family or nobility. The Shoku Nihongi, for example, indicates that a total of one hundred and twenty-six “healing meditation masters” (Jp. kanbyō zenji 看病禅師) had been recruited in attempts to restore the retired Emperor Shōmu to health.4 The edict rewarding them for their efforts singles out several priests by name, including Rōben 良弁 (689–773) and Ganjin 鑑真 (688–763). Perhaps the most noteworthy kanbyō zenji was the meditation master Dōkyō 道鏡 (d. 772), who was purportedly able to gain the favor of the retired Empress Kōken (who later re-ascended as Empress Shōtoku) through his services as a kanbyō when she was ill. Later sources indicate that, at times, priests would be brought into the sickroom to chant sutras, recite spells or dhāraṇī 陀羅尼 (Jp. darani), or perform esoteric Buddhist rites involving drums, fire, or images of fearsome beings from the Buddhist pantheon.