‘Regenerative medicine event’
DOI link for ‘Regenerative medicine event’
‘Regenerative medicine event’ book
The population of Japan is simultaneously ageing and shrinking at alarming rates. The growing percentage of elderly places great pressures on public and familial care provision infrastructures. Despite the early days of translatable treatments, the cellular therapies of regenerative medicine are widely celebrated in Japan, particularly those aimed at the treatment of chronic degenerative diseases, largely for their potential to remedy the healthcare strains arising from this demographic shift. In tandem, many elderly wish to avoid burdening family members with care responsibilities, and are searching for new self-initiated, preventative, proactive health management options. This paper will explore the repurposing and medicalisation of the Setsubun festival by elderly participants under the conceptual rubric of regenerative medicine, in reaction to these demographic anxieties. Documented over two years of fieldwork, the overall meaning of Setsubun amongst elderly participants has shifted from ‘luck’ to ‘health,’ and the soybeans used in mamemaki analogously repurposed to stem cells. This is a connection with logographic and categorical linkages, and one verbally articulated by participants themselves. Ultimately, this paper will demonstrate the equivalent perceptional malleability and functional flexibility of both traditional rituals and cutting-edge biotechnology alike in Japan, as a response to contemporary health concerns.