We are pleased to offer for review ‘Organ Donation in Japan: A Medical Anthropological Study‘ by Maria-Keiko Yasuoka (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). Expressions of interest are welcome from across the medical humanities, but this book may be of particular interest to anthropologists and social scientists.
‘Organ Donation in Japan: A Medical Anthropological Study by Maria-Keiko Yasuoka reveals insight into Japan as the country with the most severe organ shortages and the lowest numbers of organ donations among medically advanced countries. The history of organ transplantation in Japan is a unique and troubled one. Many academic hypotheses such as cultural barriers, the Japanese concept of the dead body, traditional beliefs, and so on have been advanced to explain the situation.
However, little research has yet revealed the truth behind the world of Japanese organ transplantation. Yasuoka conducts direct interview research with Japanese “concerned parties” in regards to organ transplantation (including transplant surgeons, recipients, and donor families). In this book, she analyzes their narrative responses, considering their distinctive ideas, interpretations, and dilemmas, and sheds light on the real reasons behind the issues. Organ Donation in Japan is the first book to delve into the challenging and taboo Japanese concepts of life and death surrounding organ transplantation by thoroughly presenting and investigating the narratives of concerned parties’.