Culture-Bound Syndromes: Taijin Kyofusho

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  • During the 1920s, the Japanese psychiatrist Shoma Morita first described the cluster of symptoms known as taijin kyofusho (TKS), which literally means the disorder (sho) of fear (kyofu) of interpersonal relations (taijin). The American diagnostic system for mental disorders lists TKS as a culture-bound syndrome that is similar to social phobia but unique to Japan. However, similar symptoms have also been reported in Korea, several European countries, and the United States. Nonetheless, TKS is most common among the Japanese people. In Japan, TKS is diagnosed in 7% to 46% of psychiatric patients, making it the third most common diagnosis. The traditional Japanese treatment for TKS is Morita therapy. Understanding TKS and its cultural influences is beneficial in adopting a culturally sensitive approach to the conceptualization ...

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