I recently started reading フラジャイル 病理医岸京一郎の所見 or “Fragile: The View of Pathologist Keiichirou Kishi”, which as you might expect from the title, incorporates a lot of medical terminology. In the end it was a bit above my current level (planning to return in a few months!) but I was wondering if there’s anything along similar lines for psychology - focusing on a therapist, psych researcher, forensic/criminal psychologist, something like that.
Despite working in psychology here in Japan for nearing a year, I still struggle with a lot of technical vocab. Some kind of specialist manga might be a good way of plugging that gap.
Unfortunately, when I search 心理・心理学マンガ in Google, I get either illustrated psychology textbooks or the billionth recommendation for Death Note.
EDIT: I’ve compiled a list below of all recommendations received, for anyone finding this thread in future. I have included CWs where the original post included them.
Asper Kanojo (アスパー・カノジョ）- CW for depictions of mental illnesses and suicidality
If you’re fine with an anime, I highly recommend 空中ブランコ Kuuchuu Buranko
(Welcome to Irabu’s Office). It’s absolutely brilliant. (the show focuses on several patients seeking out Irabu’s rather unorthodox psychiatric help)
A mystery novel series that might interest you is Beautiful Bones: Sakurako’s Investigation or A Corpse is Buried Under Sakurako’s Feet (櫻子さんの足下には死体が埋まっている, Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru ). It got a beautiful anime worth watching if you don’t wanna read it.
And, then there is of course Black Jack, though that’s medicine and surgery more than anything.
Besides the original manga by Ozamu Tezuka and first anime, there was a movie and OVA series in the '90s worth watching. Also a more recent anime about Young Black Jack.
Thanks for sharing the manga, sounds like my kind of thing. I don’t have any recommendations, unfortunately .
This got me curious. Would you be open to sharing your experience? As someone else, whose considering the same. I’ve often read that a psychology degree isn’t conducive to living in Japan, so it’s really neat you’re working in psychology there.
I do recommend using Anime News Network for things like this. Their encyclopedia of anime and manga is really extensive and it allows you to do searches for themes, not just genres. Just try out some searches and see what you find, or look up Kuuchuu Buranko and see what it’s been tagged with. ^^
Not recommendations since I haven’t read them, but I tried searching 心理学 on bookwalker which might yield better targeted results for your purporses than just google (even if you don’t use bookwalker), since it’s all books, you can see the covers at a glance, and you can limit to just manga
There’s one or two “Psychology at a glance” type explainer manga on there that seem like they could be the kind of thing you’re looking for maybe? If they aren’t too dry and shallow at least.
You also might want to look into manga non-fiction essays? There’s a site for that I’m struggling to remember the name of… (I think I was thinking of https://www.comic-essay.com/ which in retrospect should have been easier to remember - I think there might be other sites like that out there though. I associate manga from those sites with like, special topics told somewhat drily but clearly)
Also I think there was a comic in Monthly Spirits I remember that had soooomething to do with a therapist’s day-to-day? Also struggling to remember the name of that…
(It looks like I was thinking of こころのナース夜野さん which is about a 精神科ナース. I’ve only read one chapter, but I remember it being a pretty straightforward kind of case-study about a parent wanting help understanding their child)
Otherwise the only not-already-mentioned psychology-flavored fiction manga that pops into my head is Monster, but I feel like that’s more uh, thriller “psychology” not like, real world psychology.
Not quite what you’re looking for, but will still recommend Monster by Naoki Urasawa. It’s about an upcoming brilliant brain surgeon that saves a boy he shouldn’t have. His job prospects gone, his wife leaves him and then the murders start happening.
And something else I’m reading in English (although I would want to read it in Japanese later) is Asper Kanojo, which deals with two autistic people trying to survive in today’s society. The boyfriend is learning how to help her deal with the various mental illnesses by observing her closely.
OCD, panic attacks and suicidal ideation are the main ones. So I wouldn’t recommend it if it makes people very uncomfortable, as it might be a bad trigger to past traumas. Bullying and abuse are shown as well.
While nobody in the story is a likeable character, you do get where it comes from. So it feels like it comes from a good heart. They’re pretty open about discussing things.
Thanks so much for the replies everyone! There’s a good list to get stuck into here - and I’m certainly open to anime recs too.
My go-to habitual binge media is actually podcasts, so if anyone happens to know any that fit the bill… basically anything for seeing how psychology/ mental health is presented and discussed in Japanese society and media would be great!
Of course! I’ll be a little sparing about details because it is a small world - true everywhere but especially here - but basically I work in public mental health research. I came to Japan on a (not psychology-specific) scholarship and had an internship as part of that, after which I continued onto a salaried position. I was surprised actually how quickly I received the offer of internship once I made contact with the company, though I’m pretty sure it helped I had experience working in the field in my home country first. I suspect it’d be more difficult as a foreigner without high language aptitude to find a job straight out of university, for example.
In terms of day-to-day life - contrary to the stereotyped ‘salaryman’ lifestyle, my working environment is relaxed and supportive, and my colleagues are attentive to ensuring no-one is doing consistent overtime. While I do still face a substantial language barrier, I’m not doing any first-hand data collection, so my biggest challenge is actually finding opportunities to use/learn Japanese since most (though certainly not all) psychology research is written and published in English.
I’m pretty happy in my job, though as is the case in all research positions you really need a PhD to make career progress, which is what I’m currently considering.
Thank you kindly for sharing! You’re the first person (foreigner) I’ve come across actually doing psychology stuff in Japan. All the best as you continue along your path! That gives me hopeful considerations for down the road.
I actually hadn’t realized this. I remember looking into some foreign research studies and thinking it was as expansive as English—blissful ignorance. Just assuming that other countries wouldn’t want to be limited in producing research, but I guess it makes sense when I think of America’s general influence. Consistency of APA is nice in that regard.
Not constantly kowtowing then, that’s good haha. Joking aside, that’s really cool to know.
Based off of the people your working with, do you feel that there’s a shift in Japan’s views on mental health? Less stigma, more public coverage etc… Or is it still considered niche and “unique” Japanese problems?
I imagine a book like “The Courage to be Disliked”'s popularity in Japan bodes well.
So, not much difference to other countries it seems.