Accepted paper:

"Eye from an I": a survey of regenerative medicine in Japan

Authors:

Jesse Bia

Paper short abstract:

This paper will outline the current state of regenerative medicine in Japan, placing its potential benefits and obstructions within a cultural framework, in order to highlight a dynamic debate which holds profound implications for Japanese patients at the point of care.

Paper long abstract:

Japan is a national frontrunner in the research, development, and escalating usage of regenerative medicine. While relevant within a global context, this status holds profound implications domestically, particularly for Japanese patients suffering organ failure. There are myriad taboos acting as catalysts for a deep discomfort with organ transplantation among a majority Japanese patients who qualify for transplantation. Many of these personal prohibitions revolve around inherited notions of ritual purity and body conception, specifically the pollution and imbalance associated with modern allogeneic transplant: receiving an organ from another individual. Regenerative medicine - the collection and processing of biomaterials from human bodies and the subsequent transplantation of these biomaterials back into the source patients - is an autologous process: healing the body with one's own cells. Through a variety of novel techniques, the procedural implementation of regenerative medicine could signify a major paradigm shift in subjectively viable treatment options for Japanese patients at the point of care; facilitating treatment by circumventing the taboos associated with allogeneic transplant. Additionally, parallels between the practice and philosophy of biomedical regenerative medicine and traditional kampo healing are forging a relationship between the two which is simultaneously both symbiotic and conflicting. This paper will outline the current state of regenerative medicine in Japan, placing the potential benefits and obstructions within a cultural framework, in order to highlight how even in the face of innovative dynamism, medical development is not necessarily a harbinger of acceptance.

panel P12
Being, being human, and becoming beyond human