Departmental Bulletin Paper <Invited Articles>Learning Compassion: Everyday Ethics among Japanese Carers

Danely, Jason

1pp.170 - 192 , 2016-01-15 , 京都大学大学院人間・環境学研究科 共生人間学専攻 カール・ベッカー研究室
This article draws on anthropological, philosophical, psychological and religious notions of compassion, care and empathy in order to better conceptually situate the practices and narratives of family carers of older adults in contemporary urban Japan. Compassion is approached as something actively pursued (sometimes to exhaustion), requiring empathic imagination, as well as ethical practices of care. Both orientations are important, I argue, for considering how compassion is learned and how it might incorporate normative cultural narratives that expand the meaning of compassion in some ways and foreclose on others. In this article, I utilize ethnographic interviews to illustrate Japanese spiritual narratives of compassion as well as embodied, sensorial narratives. Finally, I consider the ways compassionate ‘co-suffering' poses potential for exhaustion, and the need for improved social models of care.

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