In Japan, gynecological examinations (GEs) are normally conducted on a specially designed examination table called naishin-dai. Recent naishin-dai are remarkably high-tech, equipped with mechanisms to automatically position the patient perfectly for the GE, so “all patients need to do is sit.” However, such high-tech machines are not commonly used in the West. To determine what sociocultural contexts legitimize and encourage such development, we conducted semistructured interviews with manufacturers of naishin-dai and gynecology practitioners in Japan, as well as gynecology practitioners in Taiwan, South Korea, Britain, France, and the United States. Comparative analysis of these data by employing the concept of genderscript revealed that multilayered and interrelated inscriptions of gendered norms and relations provided such legitimacy and encouragement. Furthermore, the genderscripts of naishin-dai are in fact East Asian genderscripts, which reveal how traditional East Asian stereotypes of women patients are framed in the practice of modern Western gynecology.
Patient-Centered Development? Comparing Japanese and Other Gynecological Examination Tables and Practices
Kyoko Mimura is a former student in the graduate school of interdisciplinary gender studies, Ochanomizu University. She specializes in social studies of health care technology. She studied STS at University College London, University of London, as an undergraduate student, and Tokyo Institute of Technology as a master's student.
Minori Kokado is a project assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Ethics and Public Policy, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, and she specializes in bioethics in France. Her current research focuses on French society's reception and attitude toward assisted reproductive technology. Her recent publications include “La tradition japonaise, frein à une libéralisation du corps de la femme” (Corps de la femme et biomédecine Approche internationale, 2013), coauthored with Ryuichi Ida, and “Surrogacy: Donor Conception Regulation in Japan” (Bioethics, 2010), coauthored with Yukari Semba, Chiungfang Chang, Hyunsoo Hong, Ayako Kamisato, and Kaori Muto.
Hyunsoo Hong is a project assistant professor in the Department of Public Policy, Human Genome Center, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo. She specializes in the cultural anthropology of medical technology in East Asia, and her recent research topics include bioethics laws in South Korea and genetic testing in Korea and Japan. Her recent publications include “What Are Problems in the Egg Donation for a Research in the Hwang Scandal?” (Techno/Bio Politics, 2008) and “Reconsidering Ethical Issues about ‘Voluntary Egg Donors’ in Hwang's Case in Global Context” (New Genetics and Society, 2011), coauthored with Azumi Tsuge.
Chiungfang Chang is a visiting researcher in the Department of Public Policy, Human Genome Center, Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo. She specializes in sociology of medicine, especially in East Asia. Her recent research topics include assisted reproductive technology in Taiwan.
Azumi Tsuge specializes in medical anthropology and has worked extensively in the field of Japanese modern medical technology. Topics of her fieldwork include assisted reproductive technology, prenatal testing, genetic testing, and regenerative medicine. Her recent publications include “Life after Experiences of Infertility Treatment: Akirameru—the First Step for Empowering” (EASTS, 2009) and, with Hyunsoo Hong, “Reconsidering Ethical Issues about ‘Voluntary Egg Donors’ in Hwang's Case in Global Context” (New Genetics and Society 2011).
Kyoko Mimura, Minori Kokado, Hyunsoo Hong, Chiungfang Chang, Azumi Tsuge; Patient-Centered Development? Comparing Japanese and Other Gynecological Examination Tables and Practices. East Asian Science, Technology and Society 1 September 2014; 8 (3): 323–345. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/18752160-2641998
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