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An Initial View of Self-Help Groups for Japanese Alcoholics: Danshukai in its Historical, Social, and Cultural Contexts

  • Chenhall R
  • Oka T
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Abstract

Danshukai is Japans largest self-help/mutual-aid group for alcoholics, with approximately 10,000 members nationwide. This article aims to examine Danshukai in the Tokyo area. While leaders of Danshukai in the 1950s were inspired by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), it was AAs general structure and not its therapeutic content that was translated into the Japanese context. For therapeutic content Danshukai turned to existing cultural understandings within Japanese society, and made the meeting pivotal to recovery. In Danshukai, alcoholics manage their dependence by changing their social routines by belonging to Danshukai and attending meetings, paying membership fees, and sharing stories about the damaging effects of alcohol among members. Recovery is not an individual journey, but is inclusive of the family in the therapeutic process. Danshukai also provides service to help alcoholics in need who are outside their membership. At the individual level, service is more local, being linked to supporting the family through recovery.

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Chenhall, R. D., & Oka, T. (2010). An Initial View of Self-Help Groups for Japanese Alcoholics: Danshukai in its Historical, Social, and Cultural Contexts. International Journal of Self Help and Self Care, 5(2), 111–152. https://doi.org/10.2190/sh.5.2.b

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