Our Vision

Greetings from the Japan Graphic Medicine Association

Welcome to the website of The Japan Graphic Medicine Association. The Japan Graphic Medicine Association (JGMA) was founded in 2018. It aims to provide networking opportunities and intellectual exchanges for those who are interested in the of medical humanities and related-fields, including (but not limited to) medical professionals, educators, social workers, scholars, artists, and people who are interested in this emerging field. The concept of “Graphic Medicine” was coined by Dr. Ian Williams, a physician, comic artist, and independent scholar. A website with the same name was launched by Dr. William in 2007 has functioned as a hub for a group of scholars, artists, medical professionals. Since 2010, the group has organized annual conferences (https://www.graphicmedicine.org/). The group’s landmark book, Graphic Medicine Manifesto, was published in 2015 by Pennsylvania State University Press. Following the visions of this group, JGMA aims to provide a global forum for the exchange of ideas and practical advice related to this endeavor.

Japan has a rich history of manga culture and, within it, the genre of “medical manga has been developed. One of JGMA’s projects is to trace a cultural history of manga and their social and cultural contributions in relation to the idea(s) of graphic medicine. Though Japan is known as a country with universal healthcare, actual scenes of medical professions, institutions, and administrations still face numerous challenges. In addition, whereas the medical practices and theories have been increasingly developed, they also produced a situation in which each agent who are involved in medical care have become highly compartmentalized and, thus, it is often difficult to communicate among professionals, patients, their families, and those who are involved in the medical practices. We propose the value of manga as a visual narrative medium that enables to bridge these existing gaps and overcome the challenges in the current, shifting medical fields and health care. As a part of the international graphic medicine community, JGMA intends to participate in the global forum of graphic medicine and communities with a focus on Japanese graphic narratives.

As medical humanities is an interdisciplinary cluster of philosophy, ethics, psychology, sociology, education, anthropology, literature, narratology, gender studies, disability studies, visual arts, and cultural studies, JGMA intends to provide a wide variety of venues for intellectual and cultural exchange beyond existing disciplines and professions, while exploring the potential of graphic medicine for social and cultural contributions. JGMA sincerely welcomes anybody who are interested in this vision.

March 2020
From the Representative