Cultural representations of mental illness in contemporary Japan

Fiorella Bucci


This paper presents the results of a research project aimed at studying the cultural representations of mental illness and related interventions models in contemporary Japan, and providing the basis for a comparison between Japanese and Italian mental health cultures. The research methodology is based on interviews with scholars and professionals from multiple disciplinary areas and fields of practice, in order to analyze the interactions between medical, social sciences’ and humanities’ discourse on mental illness. The results highlight the significance of home custody within the modernization of the country, between Edo and Meiji periods; the cultural frameworks of contemporary psychiatry’s action; what anti-psychiatry and the ‘critical’ reflection on mental illness represented within the academic debate; the new demands and potentialities connected to the spread of psychology within the mental health sector; remarkably new experiences of social integration with the contribution of arts.


mental illness; cultural representations; Japan; international comparison; multidisciplinary study

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363