Psychotherapy and Religion in Japan: The Japanese Introspection Practice of Naikan, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Psychotherapy and Religion in Japan

The Japanese Introspection Practice of Naikan, 1st Edition

By Chikako Ozawa-de Silva


212 pages | 17 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415545686
pub: 2009-04-29
Hardback: 9780415336758
pub: 2006-08-16
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pub: 2006-09-27
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Naikan is a Japanese psychotherapeutic method which combines meditation-like body engagement with the recovery of memory and the reconstruction of one's autobiography in order to bring about healing and a changed notion of the self.

Based on original anthropological fieldwork, this fascinating book provides a detailed ethnography of Naikan in practice. In addition, it discusses key issues such as the role of memory, autobiography and narrative in health care, and the interesting borderland between religion and therapy, where Naikan occupies an ambiguous position. Multidisciplinary in its approach, it will attract a wide readership, including students of social and cultural anthropology, medical sociology, religious studies, Japanese studies and psychotherapy.


'This fascinating and carefully researched study provides one of the few accounts of a modern nonwestern psychotherapy practice. It should be read by all interested in psychotherapy and culture.' - Tanya Luhrmann, University of Chicago, USA

'This is the most serious interpretation of the practice of Naikan I have come across…A compelling book that the reader will sit down and finish in a single reading and at the end assisted to look deeply into his or her own moral life. It is a book as much about our shared existential condition as about Japanese culture today.' - Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University, USA

Table of Contents

Part 1: Naikan 1. Introduction: The Theory and Practice of Introspection 2. The Expansion of Naikan 3. Personal Accounts of Naikan Part 2: Therapy 4. A Confessed Therapy 5. Embodies Memory and the Reconstruction of Autobiography 6. Naikan as an Alternative to Western Therapies Part 3: Religion 7. Naikan's Shin Buddhist Legacy 8. Enclosed Silence, Sacred Space: Death in the Naikan Environment 9. Using the Body: The Role of Meditation 10. Elements of Christianity in Naikan? 11. From Salvation to Healing: Ties between Religion and Therapy Part 4: Health & Society 12. The Place of Culture in Health and Illness 13. Conclusion: Questioning the Categories of Religion and Psychotherapy

About the Author

Chikako Ozawa-de Silva is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Emory University. Her work focuses on cross-cultural understandings of health and illness, mind and body, religious healing practices, medicine and therapy in the fields of medical anthropology, psychological anthropology and the anthropology of religion by bringing together Western and Asian (particularly Japanese and Tibetan) methodologies and epistemologies.

About the Series

Japan Anthropology Workshop Series

Editorial Board:
Pamela Asquith, University of Alberta
Eyal Ben Ari, Kinneret Academic College, Sea of Galilee, Israel

Hirochika Nakamaki, Suita City Museum, Japan
Christoph Brumann, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany

Henry Johnson, University of Otago, New Zealand

Founder Member of the Editorial Board:
Jan van Bremen, University of Leiden

Routledge is very proud to be publishing this important series, which has already signed up a good list of high quality books on interesting topics, and has a truly international range of authors and editors.

A key aim of the series is to present studies that offer a deep understanding of aspects of Japanese society and culture to offset the impression of constant change and frivolity that so tempts the mass media around the world.  Living in Japan brings anyone into contact with the fervent mood of change, and former residents from many other countries enjoy reading about their temporary home, but there is a demand also to penetrate less obvious elements of this temporary life.  Anthropologists specialise in digging beneath the surface, in peeling off and examining layers of cultural wrapping, and in gaining an understanding of language and communication that goes beyond formal presentation and informal frolicking.  This series will help to open the eyes of readers around the world from many backgrounds to the work of these diligent anthropologists researching the social life of Japan.

Submissions from prospective authors are welcomed, and enquiries should be sent in the first instance to the series editor Professor Joy Hendry (

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychotherapy / General
RELIGION / Shintoism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General