AAS Annual Meeting

Interarea/Border-Crossing Session 397

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Session 397: Health and Illness in East Asia

Negotiating Health: Medicine and Health Care in the Philippines during the JapaneseOccupation Period
Arnel E. Joven, University of Asia and the Pacific, Philippines

This study addresses the problem of how the people’s state of health was affected by and coped with the realities of the Second World War in the Luzon area, and how and why individual health influenced the political-economic atmosphere, while interacting with the natural environment. In an attempt to contribute to the social history of the Japanese occupation period, this study attempts to take a fresh a look at available written materials as well as an ear into the oral history of living survivors in order to clarify and focus on the people’s health-seeking behaviour during the occupation period The research looks at the Japanese occupation period, social history of medicine, and medical anthropology in order to assess the starting points and the rifts that needed to be bridged surrounding people’s health as affected by and equally influenced the prevailing political-economic realities, while managing individual meanings and interactions, with the social and natural environment. Following the initiatives of Mojares, Ikehata, and Jose, the study seeks to focus deeper into an often bypassed aspect of the period – that of health and medicine. The study recognises the need to situate the people as the central leading actors interacting with each other and the social-natural environment. As such, the need to employ theoretical perspectives from medical anthropology – phenomenology, social interactionism, political economy, and cultural ecology as tools of interpretation, a necessary step towards an integrative understanding of the multi-faceted aspects of the people’s health in their daily lives during the occupation period.

When the Patient Becomes a Doctor: A Case Study on the Zhegong Manlu (1635)
Chia-Feng Chang, National Taiwan National University, Taiwan (R.O.C.)

In pre-modern China, there were three major ways of transmission of medical knowledge: father and son; disciple and teacher; and learn by oneself. Previous studies have focused on the first and second ones and achieved substantially well. In this paper, I would like to look into why and how a traditional Chinese gentleman learnt medicine by himself. I take Huang Chenghao's Zhegong Manlu (1635) as an example not only to explore his motive and achievement of learning and practicing medicine in the late Ming dynasty, but also to delve into his social connection and the relationship between him, his patients, and other physicians. According to Huang Chenghao, who was a middle-class official in the Chongzhen reign, he was susceptible to disease in youth and unfortunately became a victim of inadequate treatment. In the Zhegong Manlu, he recorded his illness and his feeling and understanding of his body in detail, so as to provide a first-hand patient's report. Unlike most other medical accounts, it is the patient himself describing his disease, feeling and medical experience. Moreover, this text was incorporated into the Liulizhai Yishu, composed by Chen Yongpei in the early Qing dynasty, and to a certain extent, deemed rather as a medical text than as a patient's account. Huang Chenghao noted how and where he obtained medical and pharmaceutical knowledge and put it into practice, offered his comments on contemporary medical experts and their theories, and handed down his medical knowledge to his sons. Therefore, by analyzing this account, we can discuss the author's duel roles of being a patient and a doctor, and examine the important role of medicine and yangsheng (nourishing life) in a Chinese literati's life and in his social cycle.

Declaring Illness: Sick Leave in Qing Bureaucracy
He Bian, Princeton University, USA

What did people in the Qing think about the relationship between work and health? What types of illness could grant extended leaves from one’s duty, and what types could not? How did the regulations on sick leave and retirement shape people’s choice as they navigated their careers in and out of the troubled water of officialdom, and how did the institution itself change over time? This paper seeks to address these questions by tracing the history of sick leave in Qing bureaucracy, based on materials from the Veritable Records, five editions of the Collected Statutes as well as original archival records of the Board of Civil Appointments. The reigns of emperor Yongzheng and Qianlong witnessed a major turning point in sick leave regulations. Whereas provincial officials used to be strictly forbidden to evade their duty under any excuses, in 1727 emperor Yongzheng granted governors and governors-general the power to petition for temporary sick leaves for their most capable subordinates. His successor, emperor Qianlong, was even more ready to play the dual role of both the benevolent monarch and omniscient judge, making the rules more lenient whilst punishing a few for alleged malingering. The changed institutional climate during the 18th century has foreshadowed significant problems in the 19th century: magistrates, prefects and even military commanders freely evaded imminent danger and later bribed their way back all under the umbrella of sick leave regulations. The instrument for more flexible management of local administration had gone out of control.

Hwabyung (Fire Illness): A Culturally Defined and Socially Sanctioned Illness Behavior among Korean People
Jonghyun Lee, Bridgewater State University, USA

When Korean women visit their doctor, they often complain about a feeling of tightness in the chest, generalized aches and pains, and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. They describe their suffering as hwabyung, the fire illness. Hwabyung is generally known as a woman’s illness, perhaps a reflection of their lower status. But new research shows that increasing numbers of Korean men also report having hwabyung. Is it because, in these stressed economic times, they cannot fulfill their culturally prescribed masculine role of family provider? Hwabyung existed in Korean culture long before it was introduced into the Western psychiatric discourse. Cases can be found in the shillok, the Veritable Records of the Chosun period (1392-1910 C.E). While focusing on symptoms and relevant diagnoses, Western psychiatric approaches fail to explain hwabyung in its own terms, as created by Koreans. Using hwabyung, an indigenous Korean psychiatric illness, this paper reveals the way in which psychiatric knowledge about hwabyung has been constructed and exercised. An astonishing aspect of hwabyung is self-diagnosis. Koreans believe their experiences of life adversities cause the onset of hwabyung. Influenced by their collectivistic cultural norms, Koreans are discouraged from directly expressing negative emotions. Hwabyung, then, can be conceived of as a culturally-sanctioned help seeking behavior. It allows Koreans to seek needed social and medical interventions, while expressing their inner suffering through physiological symptoms.