2008 Volume 2008 Issue 21 Pages 49-59
Beginning in the modern era as part of the process of national state formation, the Japanese government adopted an isolation policy for people with Hansen's disease in which sufferers were segregated from the general public and confined to sanatoria. This isolation policy was in effect for a century, ending only recently in 1996.
Meanwhile, in post-war Japan, there were some who left the sanatorium. This article examines the experience of Hansen's disease sufferers who left the sanatorium, in order to explore how they constructed plural life-worlds through resisting 'isolation'. 'Return to society' for the sufferers meant that they tried to build several relationships and selves outside the sanatorium.