Title

Yayoi Kusama a Stepping stone for change In Japan

Presenter Information

Rene ShambergerFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Japanese

Minor

Art

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Yoko Hatakeyama

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

Among the important values in Japanese society, are structure and social harmony. It is also important to practice social etiquette to ensure one does not cause a disturbance to the people around them. However, this becomes problematic when those with mental health issues are perceived as “troublesome” to mainstream society because of their inability to perform certain social norms without treatment. It is normal for a significant number of mentally ill people to live in institutions for a extended time frame. Among these people include the famous contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama, who has been a resident of Seiwa Hospital for the mentally ill for 41 years. However, her work has earned the prestigious title of “avant- garde” and she continues to be a leading figure in the contemporary art movement in both the United States and Japan. Kusama’s work consist of abstractions, sculptures, and installations made as a coping mechanism for her hallucinations. By materializing her hallucinations she is able to turn her anxieties and hallucinations into visually stimulating works of art.The story of Yayoi Kusama acts a a stepping stone for the movement to push for better mental health care and awareness in Japan. In doing so, people with mental illnesses can better reciprocate back into Japanese society with helpful treatment. This paper will analyze how Kusama’s story proves the benefits of having an outlet in order to manage and overcome one's illness. Furthermore, the works of Kusama will also be explored to reveal her success with overcoming her mental illness and becoming a role model for others coping with their own mental illnesses.

Fall Scholars Week 2018 Event

GLT 400

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Yayoi Kusama a Stepping stone for change In Japan

Among the important values in Japanese society, are structure and social harmony. It is also important to practice social etiquette to ensure one does not cause a disturbance to the people around them. However, this becomes problematic when those with mental health issues are perceived as “troublesome” to mainstream society because of their inability to perform certain social norms without treatment. It is normal for a significant number of mentally ill people to live in institutions for a extended time frame. Among these people include the famous contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama, who has been a resident of Seiwa Hospital for the mentally ill for 41 years. However, her work has earned the prestigious title of “avant- garde” and she continues to be a leading figure in the contemporary art movement in both the United States and Japan. Kusama’s work consist of abstractions, sculptures, and installations made as a coping mechanism for her hallucinations. By materializing her hallucinations she is able to turn her anxieties and hallucinations into visually stimulating works of art.The story of Yayoi Kusama acts a a stepping stone for the movement to push for better mental health care and awareness in Japan. In doing so, people with mental illnesses can better reciprocate back into Japanese society with helpful treatment. This paper will analyze how Kusama’s story proves the benefits of having an outlet in order to manage and overcome one's illness. Furthermore, the works of Kusama will also be explored to reveal her success with overcoming her mental illness and becoming a role model for others coping with their own mental illnesses.