Details of the Initiative

●Efforts through research activities: a lecture on facing death

It was a year when we witnessed so many people die from COVID-19 and became shaken by the fact that death comes without exception for everyone. Hospitals, the subject of my research, are a place where nearly 80% of Japanese people are in their dying days. Nevertheless, death is thoroughly hidden in the hospital. Partly because health professionals are very busy, they are not prepared to fully take on patients’ and families’ fears of death and philosophical questions. Essentially, death is an event whereby people having fulfilled a given life are sent off with the words “Thank you, well done.” But isn’t the current situation too sad?

A hospital created a picture book with the theme of thinking about death as part of everyday life. This led me to hold a symposium and give a lecture titled “What we lose by turning away from death.” Medical workers are professionals about death from the perspective of natural science. So I posed a question about what “death” means in the social sciences and humanities and asked audiences to think about that.

Hospitals are unique and magical places where very important events happen: people are born, reach a major turning point in their lives, and leave for heaven. While conducting research on hospital management, I also delve into the theme of “What a hospital is like in life.” I hope that we can work together with hospital staff and the general public to make hospitals better places.

Baylor University Medical Center (Dallas, TX), visited in 2016
University of Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha, NE), visited in 2015
The lecture was held in March 2021 via Zoom. Thanks to the online format, it was available for viewing and listening by people working in faraway hospitals.