BLISS #5 Hospice Music Therapy in Japan

5 Jun

In this episode of BLISS I speak with Hisako Nakayama, a music therapist, in Hokkaido, Japan.  She has been working at hospices for 15 years and advocating for music therapy through a NPO organization called “Wa Harmony”.  Her work has been featured in the NHK news this year.

In the interview Nakayama talks about many topics including the following:

  • She was a pianist and a piano teacher for many years before becoming a music therapist. After her grandmother died at home, she became interested in hospice work.
  • She feels that her relationship with music has changed dramatically since she became a music therapist.
  • In Japan hospice care is available only for people with cancer and AIDS.  She believes it should be available for people with other illnesses including ALS.
  • In recent years more people who have graduated from university with a degree in music are interested in music therapy, because they can’t make a living as music teachers. “That’s not a good reason to want to become a music therapist,” said Nakayama.
  • As a former professor of music therapy in Sapporo Ōtani University, she has seen her former students give up on a career in music therapy. It’s very difficult to practice music therapy in Japan, because it’s not a established profession.
  • What’s important in hospice work is empathy. “My motto is ‘If I were you.’ I want to try to put myself in your situation and imagine what it is like to be you,” she says.

You can listen to the episode here.



One Response to “BLISS #5 Hospice Music Therapy in Japan”

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