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

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

by Karen Nakamura

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Overview

A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia and Mental Illness in Contemporary Japan by Karen Nakamura

Bethel House, located in a small fishing village in northern Japan, was founded in 1984 as an intentional community for people with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. Using a unique, community approach to psychosocial recovery, Bethel House focuses as much on social integration as on therapeutic work. As a centerpiece of this approach, Bethel House started its own businesses in order to create employment and socialization opportunities for its residents and to change public attitudes toward the mentally ill, but also quite unintentionally provided a significant boost to the distressed local economy. Through its work programs, communal living, and close relationship between hospital and town, Bethel has been remarkably successful in carefully reintegrating its members into Japanese society. It has become known as a model alternative to long-term institutionalization.In A Disability of the Soul, Karen Nakamura explores how the members of this unique community struggle with their lives, their illnesses, and the meaning of community. Told through engaging historical narrative, insightful ethnographic vignettes, and compelling life stories, her account of Bethel House depicts its achievements and setbacks, its promises and limitations. The book is accompanied by a DVD containing two fascinating documentaries about Bethel made by the author—Bethel: Community and Schizophrenia in Northern Japan and A Japanese Funeral (winner of the Society for Visual Anthropology Short Film Award and the Society for East Asian Anthropology David Plath Media Award). A Disability of the Soul is a sensitive and multidimensional portrait of what it means to live with mental illness in contemporary Japan.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501717048
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 05/15/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Karen Nakamura is Associate Professor of Anthropology and East Asian Studies at Yale University. She is the author of Deaf in Japan: Signing and the Politics of Identity (winner of the Association for Asian Studies's John Whitney Hall Book Prize) and A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia and Mental Illness in Contemporary Japan, both from Cornell.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Arrivals

Life Story 1. Memory and Catharsis: Kiyoshi's Story

Chapter 2. Psychiatry in Japan

Life Story 2. Coming of Age in Japan: Rika's Story

Chapter 3. Christianity in Japan and the Establishment of Hokkaido

Chapter 4. The Founding of Bethel

Life Story 3. UFOs and Other Mass Delusions: Kohei’s Story

Chapter 5. The Doctor and the Hospital

Life Story 4. 37 Years of Institutionalization: Why Did Yuzuru Never Want to Leave the Hospital?

Chapter 6. Bethel Therapies

Life Story 5. Peer Support and a Meaningful Life: Gen’s Story

Chapter 7. Departures

Chapter 8. Beyond Bethel: A Postscript

Notes
References
Index

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