Unit Seminar 10th February 2014

‘Medicine and Media’
Conveners: Dr Amelia Bonea and Dr Cressida Jervis Read

Week 4 – 10 February
Aya Homei, University of Manchester
Looking into both Directions: The Positioning of Japan in Family Planning in Cold War Asia
With the case of Japanese involvement in the global promotion of family planning, I will highlight the centrality of geopolitics for the bio-politics of population. Family planning as international cooperation for Japanese actors was mobilised by Japan’s aspiration for socio-economic progress and technological future vis-a-vis world politics, which during the Cold War period was so informed by Japan’s position ‘in between’, in between its yarn for alliance with the US and the discourse of pan-Asianism permeating in Japan’s understanding and imagining of post-colonial East Asia.

Dr Homei is a Wellcome Trust Fellow at the University of Manchester. She examines the history of Japanese medicine from the Meiji period onward, with a particular focus on the three interrelated topics. They are:

  • History of midwifery in modern Japan
  • Medical research on radiation sickness in postwar Japan
  • Discourses on Japanese population in the immediate postwar period and its influence on Japans’ family planning initiatives since the 1960s

Currently she is conducting a project, ‘Family Planning, Health Promotion and global Medicine, 1945-1995: The activities of Japanese health campaigners around the world’, which is supported by the Wellcome Trust. In the project, she examines how Japanese family planning initiatives since the late 1960s (both governmental and non-governmental) in ‘developing countries’ unfolded under the aegis of overseas medical/technical co-operation and in the context of international health. As part of it, she also studies the trans-Pacific exchange of ideason Japanese population and birth control policies between Japan and the US during the immediate postwar period.

Selected publications

Michael Worboys and Aya Homei. Fungal Disease in Britain and the United States 1850-2000. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013)

“Sanba and Their Clients.” In New Directions in History of Nursing, ed. Barbara Mortimer and Susan McGann, (London: Routledge, 2005)

At: The Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine
Seminar Room, 47 Banbury Road, Oxford

Coffee is available from 2.00pm – Seminars begin at 2.15pm prompt