Journal of Applied Ethics and Philosophy;vol. 11


Zen Buddhism, Japanese Therapies, and the Self : Philosophical and Psychiatric Concepts of Madness and Mental Health in Modern Japan

Balogh, Lehel

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JaLCDOI : 10.14943/jaep.11.1
KEYWORDS : Mental Health;Morita;Naikan;Psychotherapy;Self


In my paper, I propose to investigate the philosophical underpinnings of representative indigenous Japanese psychotherapeutic approaches, particularly that of Morita and Naikan therapies, that have, at their foundations, distinctly Buddhist psychological tenets, and that offer to deal with mental health issues in a manifestly different way compared with their western counterparts. I offer a comprehensive account of how the characterizations of madness and mental illness have been shifting over the last two hundred years in Japanese society and culture, and how this has affected mental health care in Japan. Finally, the ways in which modern day thinkers, such as Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki and Keiji Nishitani have been re-shaping the concepts of the self in Japanese religion and philosophy while, at the same time, taking care to remain faithful to the original East Asian sensibilities will also be expounded and connected to the themes of mental health and mental illness.