Fasting Centers in Contemporary Japan As an Expression of Alternative Medical Care

Monday, July 14, 2014: 8:00 PM
Room: F204
Oral Presentation
Girardo RODRIGUEZ PLASENCIA , Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Beppu, Japan
Along with the modernization process in the Meiji era, Japan adopted the Western modern medical system. Although this remains the dominant paradigm in contemporary Japanese medical science, traditional health methods like (Japanized) Chinese medicine and martial arts physical therapies that existed prior to the introduction and prevalence of Western medicine have continued to be practiced to different degrees. In addition, new alternative healing practices from other cultures have also been introduced in the country, and the The Japanese Society for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is functioning since the late 1990s. From this diversity, new forms have developed which combine traditional notions of health, Western modern medicine and imported CAM methods. This presentation will introduce the case of fasting centers, providing a description of their notions and practices. Next, the discussion will situate the development of these alternative facilities in social context. It will also point to changes in the representation of their therapeutic proposals, reflecting the dynamics of globalization (such as the spread of CAM and new spiritualities), as well as the impact of local factors (like the Aum Shinrikyo affair).