March 7, 2017

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, was once based in 1984 as an intentional neighborhood for individuals with schizophrenia and different psychiatric issues. utilizing a special, neighborhood method of psychosocial restoration, Bethel condo focuses as a lot on social integration as on healing paintings. As a centerpiece of this procedure, Bethel residence begun its personal companies to be able to create employment and socialization possibilities for its citizens and to alter public attitudes towards the mentally in poor health, but additionally relatively by chance supplied an important increase to the distressed neighborhood economic climate. via its paintings courses, communal dwelling, and shut courting among health facility and city, Bethel has been remarkably winning in rigorously reintegrating its participants into eastern society. It has develop into often called a version replacement to long term institutionalization.

In A incapacity of the Soul, Karen Nakamura explores how the individuals of this special neighborhood fight with their lives, their health problems, and the which means of group. instructed via attractive ancient narrative, insightful ethnographic vignettes, and compelling lifestyles tales, her account of Bethel residence depicts its achievements and setbacks, its provides and obstacles.

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

Sample text

Even though it wasn’t much, I tried to do my bit to contribute. At fi rst, the sermons during the services were too difficult for me to really understand. But when I sang hymns with others, it felt like the fog that had enveloped me was lifting. After consulting with Dr. Kawamura and Mr. Mukaiyachi, on April 9, 1983, I discharged myself from the Red Cross Hospital and moved into the old Urakawa church [which is now called Bethel House]. I lived there with Minoru Sasaki and Watanuki-san. I think if I hadn’t met Dr.

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). Using a computer metaphor, people were regularly encouraged to empty their mental trashcans so that they can open up more room for other things in order to get on with their lives.

My father didn’t only have a drinking problem, he also fooled around with women a lot and that resulted in a lot of fights with my mom as well. Well, that was my dad, but I also remember him having a kinder side too, taking me fishing or playing ball with me. In any case, my parents divorced when I was in fifth grade. My mother, my little brother, and I moved to the village of Samani [just a few kilometers east of Urakawa] after the divorce. 3 My mother was angry that I was bad at my studies and played all the time, so she used to beat me with the long metal chopsticks that she used to tend the charcoal brazier.

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