Seeking double personality: Nakamura Kokyo’s work in abnormal psychology in early 20th?century Japan

AHP readers will be interested in a forthcoming piece in Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences now available online: “Seeking double personality: Nakamura Kokyo’s work in abnormal psychology in early 20th?century Japan,” by Yu?chuan Wu. Abstract:

This paper examines Nakamura Koky?’s study of a woman with a split personality who lived in his home as a maid from 1917 until her death in 1940. She was his indispensable muse and assistant in his efforts to promote abnormal psychology and psychotherapy. This paper first explores the central position of multiple personality in Nakamura’s theory of the subconscious, which was largely based on the model of dissociation. It then examines how it became a central issue in Nakamura’s disputes with religions including the element of spirit possession, which invoked Western psychical research to modernize their doctrines. While both were concerned with the subconscious and alterations in personality, Nakamura’s psychological view was distinguished from those spiritual understandings by his emphasis on individual memories, particularly those that were traumatic, and hysteria. The remaining sections of the paper will examine Nakamura’s views on memory and hysteria, which conflicted with both the academic mainstream and the established cultural beliefs. This conflict may partly explain the limited success of Nakamura’s academic and social campaigns.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young is a professor at Quest University Canada. A critical feminist psychologist and historian of psychology, she is committed to critical pedagogy and public engagement with feminist psychology and the history of the discipline.

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