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Project 1.

Multifaceted study of the Perpetrator-Victim relationship

We have taken over past studies on trauma to follow up and develop them expansively. We view problems, such as child abuse, crimes, and wars, or traumatic effects, based on a common problem structure of “perpetrator –victim” and our studies address violence from between individuals to between countries. Therefore, our studies focus not only on the “inner elements” of an individual who suffers from trauma but also on the “mutual relationship” between the party which inflicts violence and the party who suffers violence in order to address observable events of “the perpetrator and the victim” in various fields in a detailed manner and explore measures to correct such relationships.

〈Overview of Project〉

We carried out research activities on “trauma” during the Academic Frontier Promotion Projects for two terms. During the first term, our purpose was to conduct extensive interdisciplinary discussions regarding memories and images, the core problems surrounding the observable events of trauma. During the second term, we attempted to discuss problem structures particular to memories of observable events of trauma using the concepts of “burial and apparition” through cooperation among experts in the fields of psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, and psychiatry, as well as from human sciences or philosophy and literature.

Facts brought up during these processes were not limited to processes of physiology and psychology but also included observable events considered to arise in the mutual relationship between the party which causes violence and the party which suffers from violence, in other words, the Perpetrator-Victim relationship. The structure is common to major fields such as crime, domestic violence, and child abuses, in which trauma becomes a problem, and the largest-scale observable event among them is naturally war or international conflict.

This study project focuses on the relationship between “perpetrator and victim” which causes trauma and the objective of this study project is to discuss the details of observable events and evaluate measures to correct such relationships. This study project covers multiple multilayered issues, including a study to recognize and correct “perpetrator and victim relationships” currently arising, a study to recognize one’s own experience through addressing how the perpetrator becomes (is) a perpetrator and how the victim was (is) a victim, and a study on how the perpetrator stops being a perpetrator and the victim stops being a victim from a psychological point of view.

The concrete study subjects are divided into the following three subjects:

(1)Child and violence

Among traumatic observable events, this study project focuses on the actual status of violence inflicted on children and its influences, prevention, intervention in crises, and treatment methodologies. Over the past 15 years, advancements were made in prevention of child abuse, and measures have been developed from notification of child abuse and intervention in a crisis to unification of the family and treatment. However, there were many problems coming to light during these processes. Among such problems, our study has narrowed down the issues to 3 points, “methodology of treatment of trauma”, “child abuse (including abuse within homes for orphaned, neglected, or abused children)” and “therapy for perpetrators”. We evaluate and put into practice treatment focused on traumas in homes for orphaned, neglected, or abused children, where many children who suffered from child abuse are living, methodology for prevention of child abuse and education and support for perpetrators of violence among children, including bullying. As concrete treatment methods, we are making theoretic analyses on play therapy, sand play therapy, art therapy, and psychoanalytic psychotherapy, as well as exposure therapy in the cognitive behavioral therapy, and narrative exposure therapy (NET).

Also, effects of suffering from violence, such as abuse, have to be understood from traumatic viewpoints, which, in the case of children in particular, is known to affect the formation of personality as a whole. Violence on a child destroys the feeling of attachment developed between the rearer and the child or results in preventing healthy child development by hampering the formation of such attachment. These viewpoints overlap some of the viewpoints of Project 2, thus we shall consider the relationship between the influences of violence and the formation of attachment in collaboration with researchers of Project 2.

(2)Study on war experience in childhood

It has become an urgent task in today’s world to understand the effects of suffering from war during childhood and prevent further suffering. Suffering by children in troubled regions causes serious effects on their mental and physical status and could contribute to impoverishment and confusion of society in the future. In the fields of psychiatry and clinical psychology, methodologies for community support to minimize such effects as well as methodologies of individual treatment have been studied. By studying influences of war experience in childhood on a long-term basis in Japan, which experienced the Second World War, we can make contributions to those on-going studies as well as practical applications, and by doing so, we will be able to evaluate an aspect of post war society in Japan.

Specifically, we conduct surveys by questionnaire and by interview on people who were born between 1932 to 1945 and experienced war. The purpose of these surveys is to analyze the actual status of war experience and traumatic effects arising from such experience.

In this study, we are collaborating with a research by survey called “Kriegskind (War children)” currently underway and led by Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany. In principle, while we adopt similar methodologies, we incorporate views that are different from Germany, where focus tends to be placed on effects of the socialistic state, by focusing on trauma in particular.

In parallel with surveys from psychiatric and clinical psychological perspectives, we advance historical studies to record regional memories concerning evacuation of schoolchildren with help from alumni associations whose members experienced evacuation as elementary school children during war in their communities. Higashinada-ku in Kobe city, where Konan University is located, and its neighboring areas were hit by severe air raids during the war. We shall classify how the actual evacuation experience was felt, what actual damage was caused on homes and family members by the air raid, and what children experienced and thought during war time, by collecting referential materials and conducting surveys by interview.

We aim to correctly characterize individual experiences in relation to regional experiences based on historical studies by clarifying the true status and nature of sufferings as facts based on the organic relationship between memories classified from historical perspectives and those from clinical perspectives, and the demonstration of traumatic experiences

(3) The “perpetrator and victim” relationship from historical and philosophical viewpoints – with focus on reconciliation and “remission”.

In recent years, large scale military actions have nullified the concept of a traditional war and it is increasingly recognized that a military action no longer means a conflict between nations. As a result, a wide range of “victims” started arising while their perpetrators are not identified, thus it is becoming increasingly difficult to sustain the scheme of perpetrator and victim. With these backgrounds, a new mode of “act of mourning” is being sought. In particular, the meaning of “remission” which does not fall within the realm of reconciliation based on apologies must be addressed and the possibility explored. It is indispensable to grasp the current status of other regions and in particular to make analyses on the movements of colonialism and post-colonialism from historical and ideological viewpoints based on studies on “child and violence” and “war experience in childhood”.

In history, the movement to reevaluate past colonial rules and wars in terms of the perpetrator and victim relationship is gaining momentum. Politically, methods are being sought to achieve good relationships, pardon and understanding of the actual status of infliction of suffering by past colonial rules of western nations. In this study, researchers in the history of the United Kingdom and South Africa, in particular, are considering the relationship between the United Kingdom and South Africa as one case example of reconciliation made at a nation level to extract universal problems identified from the structure of perpetrator and victim identified there. In addition, peacemaking attempts in the post-apartheid era in South Africa are showing grave and difficult problems in terms of “act of mourning” and “remission”. Given these conditions, this study explores how to treat the new “just war theory” which has started reemerging in an ideological sense recently to reevaluate whether there the concept of “anti-war” is possible today.

Also, while taking over “democracy to come” (Jacques Derrida), we shall question injustice in the economy, environment, and politics during a time of globalization and aim to make theoretical and ideological contributions in the urgent task of seeking ways to building a new international network and democratization.