During the Meiji Restoration (1868–1912), Japan's leaders encouraged the population to acquire modern knowledge from the West, and many insights were adopted from the field of mental health. New diagnostic terms for mental disorders were introduced, and medical knowledge was distributed through the Japanese population, chiefly via media representations. A Historical and Sociological Analysis of the Discursive Practice of Mental Illness clarifies these processes through a series of close readings. In this review, I first examine the book's content and methodology and then discuss the strengths and drawbacks of the author's conclusions.

The distinctive characteristic of this book is its elaborate analytical procedure, which ensures a clear, concrete, and coherent presentation. The data used come chiefly from Asahi and Yomiuri, the two most popular Japanese national newspapers, both of which have been issued continuously since the 1870s. Hence, Masahiro Sato's...

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