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

By Karen Nakamura

Bethel residence, positioned in a small fishing village in northern Japan, used to be based in 1984 as an intentional neighborhood for individuals with schizophrenia and different psychiatric issues. utilizing a distinct, neighborhood method of psychosocial restoration, Bethel residence focuses as a lot on social integration as on healing paintings. As a centerpiece of this technique, Bethel apartment 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 fairly by chance supplied an important improve to the distressed neighborhood economic climate. via its paintings courses, communal residing, and shut courting among health facility and city, Bethel has been remarkably profitable in rigorously reintegrating its contributors into jap society. It has turn into often called a version replacement to long term institutionalization.

In A incapacity of the Soul, Karen Nakamura explores how the contributors of this special group fight with their lives, their health problems, and the that means of neighborhood. advised via attractive historic narrative, insightful ethnographic vignettes, and compelling lifestyles tales, her account of Bethel condo depicts its achievements and setbacks, its grants and obstacles.

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

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Courtesy of the East Asia Library, Yale University Library. 40 Chapter 2 family clans, and rural hamlets were responsible for maintaining local control of their own members, with harsh punishment meted out to all if social harmony was disturbed. This system of social control at the grassroots level continued through the Edo period up through the end of the Pacific War. Many might argue that it still continues now, although in a greatly ameliorated form. There is a particularly moving example of home confinement in TĎson Shimazaki’s epic historical novel Before the Dawn.

In his extensive history of psychiatry, Waichiro Omata notes that the daughter of Emperor Go-Sanjo was said to have suffered from mental illness. When the imperial princess visited the temple in 1072, she sat and meditated under its waterfall (Omata 2005, 65). Her cure inspired other people to visit the temple, which even today advertises on its website that it is said to be able help those with “diseases of the brain” and “diseases of the soul” (Daiunji 2011b). At the time, it was thought that people went mad because they were possessed by supernatural spirits.

Over the centuries, these inns specialized to take care of more of their needs; in the nineteenth century, at least two of them became private mental hospitals: the Iwakura Mental Hospital and the Kitayama Hospital (Omata 2005, 65; Mandiberg 1996, 416). While there were temples such as Daiunji that served as pilgrimage sites for people with mental illness, by far the predominant form of mental health “care” in the Japanese middle ages was home restraint or home confinement. Under the ritsuryo¯ legal system of the time, those who were tenkyĎ (insane, lunatic) were not considered liable for their own actions.

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