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Healing and spiritual care for female leaders in Japan

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Sanchez, Micka Moto




Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies


Iwamura, Jane N.
Gauthier, Jitsujo T.
Arai, Paula K. R.


This research examines the ways in which female spiritual care providers in contemporary Japan heal and empower themselves through service and connection. Its ultimate aim is to demonstrate how their healing practices and leadership can contribute to the development of the nascent spiritual care field as a distinct and promising discipline in Japan. It thus explores how their sui generis spirituality and methods of empowerment have helped to transcend the socio-religious divides and foster healing through interfaith and inter-disciplinary connectivity.

The study primarily relies on the ethnographic data obtained from studying the lives of more than 17 women of varied religious backgrounds, residing in different parts of Japan. The investigation employed personal interviews and participant observation in spiritual care and healing activities over a three-year period. The selection of the female leaders in the field for the in-depth study was based on the perceived maturity demonstrated in their spirituality and their active participation in the field of spiritual care. More importantly, these women became involved in the field as a result of experiencing a major natural disaster and/or personal tragedy. Other data were also obtained from other women and men during fieldwork, through informal interviews and observation, mainly for comparison purposes and general information.

There are now numerous articles and books that document the exponential growth of spiritual care programs in Japan in recent years. However, none underscores the significance of female presence in the field. The study thus seeks to socio-culturally further promote female leadership in the existing models of spiritual care in the increasingly globalized environment.

Degree Granter

University of the West



Library Holding

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