Monday, May 07, 2012

Song, Dance and Stigma...

Today Allison and I decided to treat ourselves to a bit of culture and bought tickets for the Kubuki show at the theatre in Dotonbori.

The experience was both fascinating and frustrating. Although it was visually stunning, there was no English guide/translation for these performances... this of course made the first performance incredibly hard to follow, or even get the gist of, as it was based heavily on dialogue. The second performance was far more enjoyable and easier to follow as the story was interpreted more through dance, movement and emotion - it was also far more aesthetically pleasing, consisting of amazingly bright coloured kimono and other traditional costumes.

Regardless, I think we were both glad to have had the opportunity to see it live and tick it off the list.

I later went alone to the Osaka City Museum of Modern Art and saw a lovely exhibition by Japanese artist, Yuzo Saeki.

Tonight, however, saw another encounter with a very unstable person. Whilst it was not as intense, nor felt as resentful or anger fueled as my experience in 2007, it did make me feel a little disappointed that the issue of mental health still seems to be swept under the tatami mat in most cases in this country.

I just finished reading an article that was published in 2002, and I feel sad to say that many of the issues and problems mentioned have really not changed or been recognized to any sort of helpful capacity for those in need of it.

I have copied and pasted a part of the article, titled: Stigma of Mental Illness in Japan, from The Lancet.

In Japanese society, the social expectation is that supervision or caring for people who have disorders associated with loss of mental and behavioural self-control will be borne by the patients or their families. Thus mental illness is not viewed as something that requires professional treatment.

The loss of mental self-control is essentially seen as something over which the person is unable to exercise will power. Japanese are socially programmed to feel a sense of shame if they lack this will power. Although treatments are available for many mental-health disorders, almost two-thirds of sufferers never seek help from a health professional. There is an urgent need in Japan to make ordinary people aware that some mental disorders can be prevented and most behavioural disorders can be successfully treated, and many patients with mental illness can resume normal, fulfilling, and productive lives in society.

I guess it can pose a problem anywhere but I feel like at least in Australia, it is recognised and there s
eems to be help available without any stigma attached.

Thank goodness there is yuzu sake in the bar fridge!

Goodnight Osaka.

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