A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia by Karen Nakamura

By Karen Nakamura

Bethel condo, situated in a small fishing village in northern Japan, was once based in 1984 as an intentional group for individuals with schizophrenia and different psychiatric problems. utilizing a different, group method of psychosocial restoration, Bethel apartment focuses as a lot on social integration as on healing paintings. As a centerpiece of this technique, Bethel condo began its personal companies so one can create employment and socialization possibilities for its citizens and to alter public attitudes towards the mentally unwell, but additionally really by accident supplied an important advance to the distressed neighborhood financial system. via its paintings courses, communal residing, and shut dating among clinic and city, Bethel has been remarkably winning in conscientiously reintegrating its participants into jap society. It has develop into often called a version substitute to long term institutionalization.

In A incapacity of the Soul, Karen Nakamura explores how the participants of this distinctive group fight with their lives, their health problems, and the which means of neighborhood. advised via attractive ancient narrative, insightful ethnographic vignettes, and compelling existence tales, her account of Bethel residence depicts its achievements and setbacks, its delivers and boundaries.

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Extra resources for A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia and Mental Illness in Contemporary Japan

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We feel a compulsion to tell the stories of our lives to our therapists, to our priests, to our neighbors, to strangers on the bus. 4 Kiyoshi Hayasaka at a Bethel cookout, July 6, 2007. Photo by the author. In a way, self-narration is self-discovery—we find out who we are by telling the story of who we are. But when is this not true? I was surprised when I found out that Bethel does not encourage much delving in the past. Both Dr. Kawamura and Mr. Mukaiyachi felt that there wasn’t much use in carrying around too many things in what they called the “trash can of the soul” (kokoro no gomibako).

If the Aoyama [family] intended to dispose of the matter within the family, then they had better move the master to a safe place quickly, place a strict guard over him, and take appropriate measures to ensure that the people of the village could once again sleep soundly. Hanzo’s cousin Eikichi carried the greatest weight in the family council. When talk in the village reached this pitch, he felt that they had no choice but to place Hanzo in confinement. The next morning he ordered Sakichi to clean up part of the woodshed and make preparations for Hanzo to be kept there.

In 1869, the second year of the Meiji Restoration, the nation’s leaders debated which medical tradition they would follow—the British one or the German one (see Totsuka 1990, 193). In the end, they chose the German tradition; indeed, until just a few decades ago, medical doctors were trained in Japan to use German rather than Japanese, English, or Latin. For example, I noticed that the notes that Dr. Kawamura 41 42 Chapter 2 at the Urakawa Red Cross Hospital wrote in a patient’s karte (medical chart) were in German, although his younger colleagues used English or Japanese.

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