Accepted Paper:

A resident said, 'We get sick of people who want to smell Minamata disease': a fisherman's village after fifty eight years  


Shuji Iijima (Kyushu University)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation focuses on a fishing village where many residents have faced Minamata disease. Although the village is famous for its charismatic storyteller, people did not want to talk about the disease. In this situation, how can we start our fieldwork and write our ethnography?

Paper long abstract:

As an academic, who has majored in cultural anthropology and clinical psychology for seventeen years, I have observed that ethnographic reports seem to have been published 'automatically' or 'arbitrarily' against field-site situations because in clinical psychology, the therapist's work is done according to the client such as the period of time with the client, the timing of the intervention and the timing of publishing an article.

In a very early stage of our visit to the fishing village in 2009, many residents seemed to avoid talking about Minamata disease even though the village was famous for its charismatic storyteller. Thus, during our first stage of research, we changed our focus from Minamata disease to folk society. At that time, we did not know how many years we could research, but according to our annual funding plan, we had to publish an ethnographic report at the end of 2009. However, during our second research period in 2011 we could research various roots and routes of products. During our third research period in 2013, we focused on life history finding that the charismatic storyteller's family was exceptional in the village. So they needed their network of sufferers.

Through this presentation, we want to share some topics such as various experiences of Minamata disease, how to utilize the annual ethnographic report clinically and the need to layer focuses, to prioritize issues and to construct collaborative relationships on each issue. This will serve as a reply to the question of the future with/of anthropologies.

Panel P014
The day after: illness experiences of Minamata disease and some possibilities of multi-layered ethnography (CLOSED - 4)