Reports that Japanese women have fewer symptoms at menopause than their North American and European counterparts have generated a great deal of attention in recent years. Various explanations have been suggested for this reported difference in women’s experience. Diet? Social structures? Cultural expectations? Language patterns?
In this presentation, I briefly introduce these explanatory approaches and summarize my own findings, which are based on a two-sited ethnographic study in Ehime Prefecture: I conducted participant-observation and ethnographic interviews with local women while simultaneously doing research at the Oriental Medical Institute of Ehime Prefectural Central Hospital. Juxtaposing the two sites, I propose an interpretation of the strategies Japanese women discussed regarding menopause