Thursday, September 20, 2012

Update: Project NIHON MUKASHIBANASHI/JAPANESE FABLES, Japan Mental Health/Illness/Stigma Awareness Movement

Long time no UPDATE!  I have not fallen off the face of the planet, I'm focusing my energy on many things at the moment, and my brain is working over time.


Here is what I have been up to:
-Doing extensive research and studying about the world of mental health/illness systems in Japan.
-Compiling a list of things I need to do in order to materialize my idea and movement.
-Working on art for this project which will become a conduit for discussion and beginning of movement.
-Trying to do videos on my Youtube channel in Japanese.
-Writing out project proposal and vision.
-Preparing myself for things to come.  

The project in rough:
日本昔話:Traditional Japanese Folk Tales
Creating contemporary works of art based on Japanese folk tales.  Re-conceptualizing the traditional stories into that which relate to modern societal issues, especially mental health/illness awareness and trying to decrease stigma associated.  
Japan today has one of the highest suicide rates of all modernized countries.  More than 660 suicides happen every single week, that is 94 persons per day (based on numbers in 2003, and those in the year alone increased by 7%).  It is 2012, and some major things have happened in Japan since then like the tsunami/nuclear plant disaster (as one example).  Japan is going through a major social and economic upheaval which is affecting every individual to the core.  
The government, major corporations, education system, bureaucracy, older cultural ways are just some of the main issues that are contributing to the continuation and increase in social disturbances, unhappiness, lack of hope, high rates of mental illnesses and suicides.  
To me it is a clear SOCIAL EMERGENCY!  It is evident but not many are stepping up, and even if they do there is always the reluctance and opposition to change from significant influential players, therefore not much movement.  
I believe the art will be the starting point opening up discussion, sharing and creating awareness.  
I've got my life's work cut out for me; things like this can not be precisely planned or charted, but I'm determined and committed for the long adventure and journey.


(note: I also had a great idea for a start up, in the medical field, as I thought this could possibly give increased funds to this movement as well as help the public population here in North America, but after lengthy research and thought I needed to decide what is/was of more importance and emergence.  I also believe there are efforts already in the works on a national scale for data/government/medical/professional fields (not necessarily user friendly or for public access).  The start up idea is something I would have found useful if it existed when I was falling through the cracks of the system while I was struggling with mental illnesses here, but again, I can not spread myself out thin; I need to do quality work with excellent results and utmost attention, in anything I strive towards.)

I also have a few things I would like to say about the direction of my Youtube videos, but that will come shortly.

Thank you so much for reading, and for your patience:)

Have a wonderful autumn,



  1. I have always thought of Japan as a closed society consumed by hierarchy, formality, honor, and order to manage an overpopulated island. These seem to have been the overriding values that have helped it succeed in many ways, both economically and technologically, but failed in dealing with social change.

    I have never heard of a women's liberation movement in Japan, never heard of the nation being open to immigration, never heard of the government addressing minority rights, etc. I am not here to say Japan's some horrible place or completely intolerant as they are the second largest international aid donors after the US and have many government programs to provide for its citizens like universal health care(unlike the US) and welfare for the aged and less fortunate.

    Yet from a western perspective the country appears to be in the middle ages when it comes to dealing with mental health. 94 suicides a day, I don't think most modern democracies would allow such a tragedy to continue for very long. (Wish you could speak more about the cultural myths/norms/biases that have perpetuated its stigma over there. Honestly, what do Japanese people think happen to those that become mentally ill? Do they think their minds have become invaded by the spirit world?)

    Individuals have to eventually stand up when their institutions and systems fail to respond to suffering. I hope more people from Japan share your sentiments for change.

    This quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer seems app, "Action springs not from thought, but from a readiness for responsibility!"

    Good to hear you have not fallen off the face of the earth and have been keepin busy. Your vids are always thoughtful and fun, but the deeper introspections in this blog are what keep me coming back.

    1. I will be getting deeper into whys hows whats whos and details of mental health in Japan. This is so exciting; this is where I get all passionate and animated. Getting to the core of the issues in Japan is much like how I had to investigate and analyze myself in order to over come mental illnesses. Putting the dots together, learning, and coming up with solutions that actually can work to create forward movement. I feel I am in my element:) Just wanted to let you know I read your comment and I truly appreciate it, and drafts for further posts on the details of mental health in Japan are in the works:) Thank you.

  2. Movement seems to mean many different things to you.

    It appears to be the core driver of this initiative. I like the word, cause it prescribes change, and that can be exciting when you find yourself compelled to make a difference.

    Whatever you are whipping up, your energy and enthusiasm is totally shining through---and all one can do is root for the artist in you to succeed and discover those creative solutions. Godspeed!