Japan’s Public Health Paradigm: Governmentality and the Containment of Harmful Behavior

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15 Scopus citations


In this essay, I revisit the politics of social control in the context of contemporary public health discussions, touching on the management of obesity and chronic illness. Foucault’s cautionary observations regarding the infiltration of normative social values into the terrain of healing offer a productive framework for considering the politics of public health in the industrialized world. I explore Japan’s public health paradigm and its key features of bureaucratic reform and health interventions through screening, socialization, education, and aggressive lifestyle training, and I consider the close proximity between health and socio-cultural values in the management of chronic conditions in Japan.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-46
Number of pages15
JournalMedical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology


  • Chronic conditions
  • Japan
  • obesity
  • public health
  • screening


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