In all thirteen national sanatorium in Japan, the number of patients have gradually declined year by year. Although it has been long discussed about maintenance and utilization of facilities in the future, clear and specific plans are still not sufficient. Especially Oshima-seishoen sanatorium, Oshima island is an isolated island located off the coast of Takamatsu port. It is very different from the other Leprosy sanatoriums in that there are no general population other than patients and officials of the sanatorium. So it is very difficult to have outlooks of the future of this sanatorium. In the conversation with the patients, two serious concerns have been raised. Whether patients will be provided support and treatment throughout life. The other one is whether the government would manage the ossuary permanently under the responsibility for the isolation policy of leprosy patients. These two points are also written in promotion measures of Oshima formulated by “Meeting to consider the future of Oshima“, that was established in 2013 proposed by Takamatsu city authorities. In the situation of aging of patients accelerating, I considered that to promise these two points are the top priority.
National Sanatorium Kikuchi Keifuen (NSKK), housing 286 residents as of May 2015, is one of the biggest and oldest Hansen’s disease sanatoriums in Japan. Located near the center of Kumamoto city, NSKK has maintained an excellent working relationship with Kumamoto University along with other neighboring medical institutions over the years. However, despite its advantages in standing, it may suffer the same problems as other sanatoriums: continually declining numbers of residents combined with the increasing frailty and dementia of existing residents due to aging and an increasing difficulty in maintaining a competent medical staff into the future. By placing our social exchange hall / historical museum as the focal point for the production and dissemination of information, we are producing an educational DVD that records an oral history through actual testimony on film as a cooperative effort between the residents’ association and NSKK. Both perspectives are very important to verify the historical problems that Hansen’s disease has encountered. One expected benefit of this project is the catharsis found in reminiscing over the past thus promoting the spiritual care of the residents; a matter which remains as a top priority in our sanatorium’s “ending period.”