In this session we will discuss various types of care provided by creative actors such as clinical religious persons for spiritual care, paramedical for end-of-life care, and l'Arche communities for disables. In so doing, we grasp a new sense of spirituality by reflecting our different life stages.
Even granting that dismal media reports on "gap society" and "no-relation society" has negatively affected the general mood of society, the pervasive sense of uncertainty and insecurity shared by Japanese people remain a puzzle for foreign researchers. The gap between subjective wellbeing and objective social security is caused by progressive changes in demography and work environment. If Japan's current low birthrates and longevity is to continue, the elderly population will be expected to reach approximately 39% of the total population, and the population will decrease to two third of its current size in 2050. Besides, increasing life span is also related to death anxiety, leading to over-prescription, prolonged hospital stay of bedridden elderly, and insufficient home care. In parallel, the young generation is tired of precariat and unpaid overtime work. But the most determining cause for fear lies in the reduction of intimate, trustful and cooperative relationships in kinship, neighborhood, and workplace. Such social ties are necessary to each generation, as they offer a feeling that their dignity is being recognized by others and that they are struggling for the same social issues and working together to solve them. Where can Japanese people discover such social capital to replace the damaged social relations and create new ones? How can we ease our fear and heal our emotional wound in this individualizing and competitive society? In so doing, can we grasp a new sense of spirituality by reflecting our different life stages, thereby rediscover new aspects of human life－birth, aging, illness, and death? In this session we will discuss various types of care provided by creative actors. We tentatively prepared three papers: first, "Medicalization of natural death and restoration of human death in Japan" by Yoshihide Sakurai; second, "End-of-life within a Japanese Nursing Home" by Shizuko Katagiri; and third, "Comparative Studies of l'Arche communities in France, Canada, UK and Japan: What matters for care-work(er)s" by Junko Terada. The chair is Yoshihide Sakurai. In addition, we would like to invite one more paper that concerns care and changing physical and mental health through receiving and giving care.