"How Mad Are You?" (AAS 2014 Panel)

How Mad Are You? The Asylum, Psychiatric Therapeutic Regimes, and Mental Health Care in Late 19th- and Early 20th-Century China, Japan, and Korea


Mar 29 (Sat) 2014, 8:30 to 10:30am 

Building/Room: Philadelphia Marriott, Level 5 - Grand Ballroom Salon B


Session Organizer: Theodore Jun Yoo (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)


Discussant: Susan Burns (University of Chicago)


Chair: Ock-Joo Kim (Seoul National University)


Psychiatry and Cultures of Neurasthenia in Republican China

Wen-ji Wang (National Yang-Ming University)


Medical Pluralism and Mental Illness in Modernist Tokyo

Akihito Suzuki (Keio University)


The Globalization of Koro: Chinese Deterritorialized and Reterritorialized

Howard Chiang (Warwick University)


The Politics of Professional Practice and Clinical Psychiatry in Colonial Korea

Theodore Jun Yoo (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa)




This panel brings together an international group of scholars to examine the development of psychiatry in East Asia from a cross-cultural and comparative viewpoint. In particular, it focuses on standards and norms of pathology, therapeutic techniques and institutional regimes, and more generally, the entanglements and incommensurable gaps between lay knowledge and state management. Equally significant in cases of institutionalization of the mentally ill were the different ways in which insanity was classified and defined alongside diverse treatment regimes. Specifically, the papers will analyze the legitimacy and efficacy of the asylum and psychiatric therapeutic regimes in China, Japan, and Korea, as well as their connected, shared and entangled histories. In doing so, the papers in this panel hope to bring into focus the rise of scientific categories of etiology, nosology and treatment plans through global and colonial transfers in psychiatry, which brought about a new therapeutic and different expectations between the afflicted and practitioner. In sum, the panel seeks to advance the debate on the comparative and transnational histories of mental health in East Asia