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Question Japan's views on mental illness, disability, and LGBTQ

Oliver_King

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I was wondering what Japan's general view is on people who suffer from mental illnesses, who have a disability, or are queer or transsexual. I know the question might be a bit vague. Views can differ depending on region and a whole lot of other factors. If it's too difficult to answer how Japan as a whole generally views and responds to these things, maybe you could share how the people in your area/community view these things? Maybe even share what you were taught to think about these things growing up in Japan? I'd like to know how the majority of the country of Japan views these things, do they view them with understanding and empathy or disregard/ignorance? Thanks to anyone who answers :)
 

Lothor

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I was wondering what Japan's general view is on people who suffer from mental illnesses, who have a disability, or are queer or transsexual. I know the question might be a bit vague. Views can differ depending on region and a whole lot of other factors. If it's too difficult to answer how Japan as a whole generally views and responds to these things, maybe you could share how the people in your area/community view these things? Maybe even share what you were taught to think about these things growing up in Japan? I'd like to know how the majority of the country of Japan views these things, do they view them with understanding and empathy or disregard/ignorance? Thanks to anyone who answers 🙂:
Quick answers - mental illnesses were until recently taboo subjects with very little understanding of them, like in most countries I suppose. Awareness and understanding of depression, anxiety etc., are much greater than before with a lot more discussion about them. Japan is still behind western countries and the provision of mental health services is very patchy. I have anxiety problems and have been touched with the understanding that Japanese friends and colleagues have shown when things have been bad, though anecdotally Japanese doctors seem to have little understanding of medication for antidepressants.

Disabilities - generally positive attitudes towards full integration into society as far as they are able to in principle but poor enforcement of equal opportunites (that goes for ALL equal opportunities in Japan) in the workplace. Lack of support in schools for children with specific difficulties (both mental and physical) such as teaching assistants. I've heard that people with specific disabilities are pushed towards particular careers, such as massage for blind people.

Gay/transexual rights - positive views from most ordinary people, remember that Japan has had little exposure to the anti-gay bigotry of western religions. I was recently chatting with a group of mainly Japanese people, a non-Japanese guy brought up the subject of gay marriage, they all shrugged, said they were in favour of it as if it wasn't even an issue worth discussing. Even an elderly Japanese guy in the group who found the idea of homosexuality deeply unpleasant was in favour of allowing gay marriage.
Some of the politicians in Japan's ruling party have recently made noises against gay rights, but they don't seem to be in favour of rights for anyone apart from themselves!

Hope this is enough to get the ball rolling!
 

Oliver_King

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Quick answers - mental illnesses were until recently taboo subjects with very little understanding of them, like in most countries I suppose. Awareness and understanding of depression, anxiety etc., are much greater than before with a lot more discussion about them. Japan is still behind western countries and the provision of mental health services is very patchy. I have anxiety problems and have been touched with the understanding that Japanese friends and colleagues have shown when things have been bad, though anecdotally Japanese doctors seem to have little understanding of medication for antidepressants.

Disabilities - generally positive attitudes towards full integration into society as far as they are able to in principle but poor enforcement of equal opportunites (that goes for ALL equal opportunities in Japan) in the workplace. Lack of support in schools for children with specific difficulties (both mental and physical) such as teaching assistants. I've heard that people with specific disabilities are pushed towards particular careers, such as massage for blind people.

Gay/transexual rights - positive views from most ordinary people, remember that Japan has had little exposure to the anti-gay bigotry of western religions. I was recently chatting with a group of mainly Japanese people, a non-Japanese guy brought up the subject of gay marriage, they all shrugged, said they were in favour of it as if it wasn't even an issue worth discussing. Even an elderly Japanese guy in the group who found the idea of homosexuality deeply unpleasant was in favour of allowing gay marriage.
Some of the politicians in Japan's ruling party have recently made noises against gay rights, but they don't seem to be in favour of rights for anyone apart from themselves!

Hope this is enough to get the ball rolling!
Thank you very much, your answer is very helpful :)
 

musicisgood

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Lothor sums it up fairly well. Mental illness treatment in govt. hospitals will offer you the best of the best. Many of the doctors have been sent to America to further study mental illness diseases. They all work for the govt. hospitals. So if one requires mental health care, try to go to a govt. hospital and especially one that has a university attached to it.
Mental health problems here in Japan are "silent" in that I mean, its best not to speak about to friends or at your company. But if you are on National Health Insurance, I think somehow your employer will find out, this is very true if you are an alcoholic and seek hospitalization. Most major companies will retain you because alcohol really is a problem in Japan.
Mental disease currently is much more wide spread these days here, will it be accepted like in America, my feelings for the time being is "NO". But Japanese people are kind people so who knows.
Also note that people with mental disorders are allowed to pay nothing or 10% of their hospital bill and medications. But this is only for mental disorders and not for other health issues. We have friends that are doctors and sometimes we chat about health issues in Japan.
 

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