Japanese Studies Center Seminar: Recent work in the Social Sciences

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Event Details

25 March 2020 at 4:00 pm
School of Languages Literatures Cultures and Linguistics; Japanese Studies; Japanese Studies Centre


This month's seminar will be a single presentation, with afternoon tea. Please join us!

Practice of "telling your own story" among Narcotic Anonymous members in Japan: Drug addictions, DARC, and the principle of anonymity

Professor Yasusuke Minami, Seijo University


In Japan, methamphetamine (kakuseizai) was commercially produced and sold to public between 1941 and 1950 and it was banned in 1951. Japan has maintained "zero tolerance" drug policies since then. It is difficult to "recover" from drug addictions. Relapse is a part of recovery process. NA (Narcotic Anonymous) and DARC (Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Center) have played a major role providing support for recovering drug addicts. Self-help group NA meetings were first held in Japan in 1985. A private organization DARC was also founded in 1985. Meetings and fellowships are two major activities of NA. The principle of anonymity is highly regarded among NA members. In Japan at self-help group meetings such as NA "no-crosstalk" rule is strictly adhered to. They tell just their own stories. I will present some meeting recordings and the analysis. Although the data fragment was collected from groupwork meetings other than "no-crosstalk" meetings, some members told their own stories adhering to the rule. It can be argued to be a Japanese adaptation of the principle of anonymity of NA.


Yasusuke Minami is Professor of Mass Communication at Seijo University in Tokyo, Japan. He has studied Japanese returnee children for his Ph.D. work. His Ph.D. thesis Growing up in two cultures: The educational experiences of Japanese students in America and their return to Japan (1993) investigates returning families from North America to Japan. Those children have had socialization/enculturation experiences in the English-speaking American interaction culture. Minami's current research includes: 1) recovery from drug addiction and 2) interaction between people with visual impairment and the sighted in Mobility & Orientation training sessions. In the last 10 years he has studied DARC (Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Center) in Japan. He has interviewed more than 100 recovering drug addicts. He edited two volumes of life histories of drug addicts: Days at DARC: Life of 14 drug addicts (Chigensha, 2013) and Recovering drug addicts support other drug addicts: Recovery from drug addiction of DARC staff members (Shumpusha, 2018), both in Japanese. He has also conducted research on educational programs to those with drug problems at a prison and juvenile training schools. His other research interests include "frame analysis" of TV talk shows, interaction analysis of communication at robotics laboratories, and pairs' watching short movies. Furthermore, he also translated Jay MacLeod's Ain't no makin' it: Aspirations and attainment in a low-income neighborhood, (Westview Press, 2007) into Japanese. He is currently translating Erving Goffman's Frame Analysis into Japanese.