VI-1. “A Historical Review of Culture-bound Psychiatric Syndrome: “Amok”” (H27 FY2015)

  • Project Leader : Imai Hissei (Mitsuya Clinic)

Outline of Research

The definition of disease has been changing according to the era. Amok is characterized by the sudden mass assault, which was firstly recorded in the literature in 1430. Although Amok has been defined as a culture-bound syndrome in the psychiatric field, its difinition and assumed cause varied according to the era. The aim of the present study is to clarify the factors causing the changes of the definition and assumed causes of Amok by reviewing the literatures related to Amok and societal and medical events.


The purpose of the present research is to identify the reason for the changing concept of disease: for what purpse and for whom does it happen? The subject of the presnt research is Amok, a culturebound syndrome.

The significance of this research is that it will contribute to the use of the concept of disease for the human health and well-being.

The merit to investigate Amok is that it may be described from various points of view, as it is thought to be seen only in India, Malaysia and Indonesia, which are multi-ethnic society, have multiple religions, and experienced colonization. Thus, literature should reflect different perspectives. Furthermore, the limitation of the regions make it easier to reveal the relation between historical events and the changing concepts.

The expected results from the research will be different concepts of Amok related to the social events, knowlege of the time, person who describe it. Clarification of the person who benefit from the concept of disease will lead to the analysis of the stakeholders. This will lead to a better use of concept of disease for the human wellbeing.

Interview at Papua (Indonesia)

Street of Bade at Papua (Indonesia)