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Modern and Traditional Japanese Culture: The Psychology of Buddhism, Power Rangers, Masked Rider, Manga, Anime and Shinto. 在日イギリス人男性による日本文化論.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Opium War Three or a Blessing?

Opium War Three

Since the late 1990s European and American drug manufacturers have been carrying out research into attitudes towards depression in countries across the world and have been asking, for example in the above survey, are you satisfied with the way that depression is treated in your company. Only 21% of Japanese respondents said that they are "satisfied" which is the lowest in the world, and shows according to the professor who carried out the survey, that Japanese responses to depression are backward.

The biggest problem with surveys such as these is that in any self-evaluative measure, Westerners are generally inclined to rate themselves (Heine, Lehman, Markus, & Kitayama, 1999) and their groups (Heine and Lehman, 1997) unrealistically positively, i.e in the vernacular we are full of ****, whereas Japanese tend to rate themselves realistically (Heine et. al. ibid). Indeed, the West, the tendency to be realistic is only prevalent among the clinically depressed (Taylor & Brown, 1988)!

This should show the Japanese that Western society is awash with arrogance, pride, and is sick to its core. Instead however, the Japanese are taking Westerners as role models, purchasing their drugs and contemporaneously with the sky rocketing use of Western anti-depressants, there has been an great increase in suicide. This is not the first time that Westerners have sold drugs to East Asians. I strikes me as being extremely worrying, and possibly tragic, misguided in the extreme (See Watters, 2010;ウォッターズ, 2013).

It should be noted however, that the vast majority of studies show that the use of antidepressants either do not effect or in the case of SNRIs reduce suicide, among Caucasians and African Americans (Clouston, Rubin, Clen & Link, 2014) in England (Gunnell, Middleton., Whitley, Dorling, & Frankel, 2003 and Japanese (Nakagawa., Grunebaum., Ellis, Oquendo, Kashima, Gibbons, & Mann, 2007). So lets hope that even if the reasons for their introduction are not necessarily entirely rigorous (As claimed by Watters, 2010;ウォッターズ, 2013), SSRIs are still a blessing.

Article above by
Isawa, T. 伊沢友之(2015年3月18日)職場のうつ病社員支援、日本は最下位 16カ国調査. 朝日新聞.

Barbui, C., Campomori, A., D'avanzo, B., Negri, E., & Garattini, S. (1999). Antidepressant drug use in Italy since the introduction of SSRIs: national trends, regional differences and impact on suicide rates. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 34(3), 152-156.
Clouston, S. A., Rubin, M. S., Colen, C. G., & Link, B. G. (2014). Social inequalities in suicide: the role of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. American journal of epidemiology, 180(7), 696-704.
Gunnell, D., Middleton, N., Whitley, E., Dorling, D., & Frankel, S. (2003). Why are suicide rates rising in young men but falling in the elderly?—a time-series analysis of trends in England and Wales 1950–1998. Social science & medicine, 57(4), 595-611.
Heine, S. J., & Lehman, D. R. (1997). The cultural construction of self-enhancement: an examination of group-serving biases. Journal of personality and social psychology, 72(6), 1268.
Heine, S. J., Lehman, D. R., Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1999). Is there a universal need for positive self-regard?. Psychological review, 106(4), 766.
Taylor, S. E., & Brown, J. D. (1988). Illusion and well-being: a social psychological perspective on mental health. Psychological bulletin, 103(2), 193.
Nakagawa, A., Grunebaum, M. F., Ellis, S. P., Oquendo, M. A., Kashima, H., Gibbons, R. D., & Mann, J. J. (2007). Association of suicide and antidepressant prescription rates in Japan, 1999–2003. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 68(6), 908.
Watters, E. (2010). Crazy like us: The globalization of the American psyche. Simon and Schuster.
ウォッターズ.E著 阿部 宏美訳 (2013)『クレイジー・ライク・アメリカ:心の病はいかに輸出されたか』紀伊國屋書店

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This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.