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2011年11月 7日 (月)

香山リカのココロの万華鏡:北杜夫氏からの宿題 /東京

(Mainichi Japan) November 6, 2011
Kaleidoscope of the Heart: My homework from author Morio Kita
香山リカのココロの万華鏡:北杜夫氏からの宿題 /東京

Author and psychiatrist Morio Kita has passed away.

When I was in junior high school, I read his light-hearted essays in the "Doctor Manbo (ocean sunfish) Series" to escape from schoolwork.

When I told my parents, "Look, it's the book of that doctor and Akutagawa Prize-winning author, the son of Mokichi Saito," they would think it was a serious book and buy it for me.

I felt I might owe it to Kita to read something besides his comedies, and from high school I started reading his novels like "Yoru to Kiri no Sumi de" (in the nooks of night and fog).

However, compared to the light-hearted essays the subject matter was heavy and the writing style proper, and I didn't really understand the subject matter.

Later, when I was in my 30s and had become a psychiatrist myself, I once again gave "Yoru to Kiri no Sumi de" a read.

Set at the end of World War II in Nazi Germany, the main characters are German psychiatrists.

The Nazi control extends to psychiatric hospitals, and an order has come down for the doctors to choose which patients are untreatable.

It was known that those patients labeled untreatable would be considered as being of no use to the country or their children or grandchildren, and would be sent to gas chambers to be killed.

What should psychiatrists do under such circumstances?

They cannot stand up and loudly object, but should they be the puppets of the Nazis?

While struggling to decide what to do, the characters each find their own ways to resist.

How should psychiatrists act under such trying circumstances?

Wondering what I would do in such a situation made my heart ache, and I found myself closing the book.

Actually, this year a related and very important event happened in the world of German psychiatric medicine.  実は今年、ドイツの精神医学の世界で、画期的なできごとがあった。

One of its largest psychiatric societies held a ceremony of mourning for the vast number of psychiatric patients who were killed or given forced sterilization surgery during Nazi rule.

After around 70 years of silence, Germany's psychiatric community for the first time officially recognized the faults it committed and publicly apologized.
Around 3,000 psychiatrists are said to have attended.

Perhaps it takes a long time to face truly difficult problems and recognize your own responsibility.

For me as well, perhaps I can understand or think things now in my 50s that I could not in my teens or 30s.

I would like to try rereading the book, "Yoru to Kiri no Sumi de," as well as read "Man's Search for Meaning," by Viktor Emil Frankl, a psychiatrist who was himself put in a concentration camp.

Thinking this way, one could maybe say that Kita was kind enough to leave me some homework that has lasted decades.

For making me think, and sometimes laugh, I am very grateful to him.

(By Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)
毎日新聞 2011年11月1日 地方版


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