Mediation between the shamanistic model and the psychiatric model in a shamanistic climate: A viewpoint of medical anthropology

Akitomo Shimoji, Shigeyuki Eguchi, Kouko Ishizuka, Taketo Cho, Taihei Miyakawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


It is suggested that any clinician working on the Miyako islands, Okinawa, Japan, be a mediator or a negotiator between two worlds, namely the shamanistic and the modern psychiatric ones. On these islands, to subscribe to either is possible only by ignoring conflicting clinical realities. The main point is to summarize the complementary practices of these two medical systems on these islands. Psychiatric illness attributed to kamidaari is introduced. The initiatory illness for seeing a shaman is called kamidaari or kamburi. From the viewpoint of medical anthropology, aspects of the treatment of such patients in a shamanistic 'climate' (which is called fudo in Japanese), will be reported. In the shamanistic fudo, it must be recognized that, at a critical moment, shamanistic epistemology and psychiatric epistemology penetrate each other, and they exist together in a clinical 'mesh'. Two epistemologies must join in a coalition to access, and build continuity into, psychiatric and shamanistic medical care. It is demonstrated that these two worlds almost merge in dialogue but do not fuse, and that clinical relations occur on the boundary between these two epistemologies. 'Climatic' specific therapeutic stances are introduced and are clinically illustrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-586
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • 'Climate'
  • 'Climatic' stance
  • Fudo
  • Medical anthropology
  • Shamanism and psychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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