Bethel: Community and Schizophrenia in Northern Japan
Directed by Karen Nakamura

English transcript of 40 minute classroom/theatrical version.
©2007 Karen Nakamura. All rights reserved.

Scene 1: Opening Song and Credits

Karen-san, please listen.

[Introductory Song]
Welcome to Bethel everybody (PAPAYA)
We’re the face of Bethel, how are you?
Whatever you learn here, please don’t be surprised


Isn’t schizophrenia terrible? (PAPAYA)
With its hallucinations, voices and delusions?
You just can’t stand not doing anything
So you end up cutting yourself


Zun zun-zun zun-doko Kana-chan


Isn’t insomnia terrible? (PAPAYA)
Making noise at all hours of the night
You keep all of your family up
No one in the neighborhood slept all night!

Zun zun-zun zun-doko Tomo-chan

Isn’t alcoholism terrible? (PAPAYA)
Drinking morning, noon, and night
Smashed all day,
To top it off, you run a tab at the bar.

INTERTITLE: Japan has 2.6 million people with registered psychiatric disabilities
INTERTITLE: 345,000 of them are hospitalized in psychiatric wards.
INTERTITLE: Some have been hospitalized their entire adult lives.
INTERTITLE: When they leave the hospital, they find they cannot adjust to life on the outside.

Zun zun-zun zun-doko Masa-chan

Isn’t mental illness terrible? (PAPAYA)
It’s our gift from God
Even if we’re different from normal people
We’re all first class sickos
Group: Thank you very much!

INTERTITLE: Bethel House was created in 1984 to help people with psychiatric disabilities live in the community.

Scene 2: Bethel Morning Meeting

Rika: We’re finally at the end of the year
Rika: Thank you everyone for all of your hard work this year

Yamaguchi: So everyone had to go help him
Yamaguchi: So we had to go get a tractor to pull him out! Yamaguchi: Our home is peaceful and happy

Nakata: The ocean was quiet and calm today
Nakata: The Shio Taiso home is quiet and peaceful

Takahashi: We sent out 7 boxes
Takahashi: Positive things: I was able to send out orders by myself
Takahashi: I did a lot, I tried hard
Takahashi: What I struggled with: I was the only person in the morning. I fell behind in orders.
Takahashi: Things to improve: Try hard without giving up. There were 2 new orders.

Scene 3: Kiyoshi in the break room and Interviews

Kiyoshi: Good morning!
Ogawa: You’re such a funny person!
Kiyoshi: HARO!
Ogawa: So how are you feeling this morning?
Kiyoshi: My physical condition is: my heart is pounding fast.
Kiyoshi: My mental state is … good.
Kiyoshi: This morning, I had breakfast and walked here.
Kiyoshi: I’m having a smoke break while working.

Ogawa: Bethel is… a place to study yourself

Nakayama: Bethel is… When I first came here, I didn’t think there was any point in living. I thought about withdrawing from society and living alone. I’m now exactly sure how, but I ended up in Urakawa. It’s now been three years and I’m slowly step-by-step thinking that it’s OK to let myself live, it’s OK to be alive. So I’m glad I came here.

Kiyoshi: You want to know about my illness?
Karen: Yes, before you came to Bethel
Kiyoshi: Before coming to Bethel
Karen: When you were in the hospital.
Kiyoshi: That’s a long story
Karen: Or when you were a child.
Kiyoshi: I wasn’t like that when I was a child.
Kiyoshi: I was in middle school.. 9
th grade. In the fall of my 9th grade, on September 22nd in the next town of Samani-cho.
Kiyoshi: I’ve told this story so many times before
Karen: Yes, I’m sorry
Kiyoshi: Why don’t I just write it down on a card? My thoughts on my illness?
Karen: About your family?
Kiyoshi: Why don’t I write it down? On a piece of paper.
Karen: Yes, but people in America can’t read what you’re writing. This film, I was going to subtitle it so that people in English-speaking countries could understand.
Karen: Kiyoshi-san, you can’t speak English.
Kiyoshi: No I can’t do English.
Karen: but if I subtitle it, people in English speaking countries can understand you.
Kiyoshi: Give me a moment, I’ll try to speak properly
Karen: But don’t if you’re feeling bad.
Kiyoshi: I do feel bad. If I talk about it, later on my body goes BWAAAAH
Karen: then don’t do it. It’s OK
Kiyoshi: As long as you understand, Karen-san, it’s OK!
Karen: Sure, sure, sure

Scene 4: Bethel House History

Intertitle: In 1978, a support group for psychiatric patients released from the Urakawa Red Cross Hospital started meeting.
Intertitle: Because some members were Christian and the minister was supportive, they met at the Urakawa Church.
Intertitle: The church rectory became the first group home in 1984, the original Bethel House.
Intertitle: Even though Bethel has no official religious affiliation, many of the core staff and members are Christian.

Scene 5: Seaweed Packaging

Nakahara: I never clean my house this vigorously.

Intertitle: Packaging seaweed was Bethel’s first venture and remains one of their most successful.

Kibayashi: Are amethysts purple?
Iida: I’m not really sure.

Intertitle: Packaging seaweed keeps your hands busy but otherwise frees you to talk, share, and listen.

Fujitani: Please put in the instructions.
Kibayashi: Next time they get them in, I’m getting jewels, amethysts.
Kibayashi: At normal workplaces, they say: “Don’t move your lips, move your hands.” But at Bethel, our principle is the opposite. We say, “Don’t move your hands, move your lips.”

Intertitle: Bethel enjoys annual sales of over ¥100,000,000 from its seaweed, farm and fishery products, books, and videos.
Intertitle: This is on top of the grants that it receives from the local and prefectural governments for running its sheltered workshops and group homes.
Intertitle: In the town of Urakawa, Bethel operates eleven group homes, a factory, a farm, and two stores. It also just opened a media and public relations office in Tokyo.

Kibayashi: This is a song about Bethel House.
Kibayashi: Bethel House is always full of problems!

Scene 5: Yamane UFO Incident

Man 1: UFO? What was that about? The UFO incident?
Man 2: Yamane-san’s UFO incident, you know the one that’s become famous
Man 1: Oh yeah that one.
Man 2: It won the 2002 grand prize in the Bethel Hallucinations and Delusions Contest.
Man 1: Oh that one.

Shio: I had heard that Yamane-san had packed his bags and was heading towards Erimo National Park.
Shio: So we decided to run to stop him.
Rika: We were all in a meeting at the hospital when someone brought in Yamane-kun.
Yamane: I was carrying my bags out of the home. I went to the Hanashiyasan restaurant. One of Bethel’s members, Kawasaki-kun was eating there. After talking with me, he thought, “Oh gosh this is bad,” and called someone. They took me to the Rika House (group home) and there everyone came and we talked forever. It’s still difficult for me to remember things from that time, so I’m not sure if that person or this person was there. If I try to remember details other painful memories come up so…
Shio: We had our meeting in Rika House.
Rika: he said he had something to tell us.
Rika: Yamane-kun told us that he wanted us to take him to Erimo National Park. When we asked him, “Why Erimo National Park?”
Shio: He said that he heard the voice of a girl saying, “help me.”
Shio: So he had to go save her.
Rika: It was a woman who worked at his old company. She told him that she was waiting at Erimo National Park. There, they would board a UFO and save they would have to go save the world and things like that. When we heard the story, we all just cracked up and were very excited. We asked him how many people could ride in the spaceship and he said it was only a two seater so he couldn’t take any of us.
Yamane: Etsuko-san called my mother and told her that I wanted to go to Erimo Park. She asked my mother, “What should we do?” My mother thought that Erimo Park was an amusement park so she said, “It’s OK if he goes, please have fun.”
Shio: We told him that sometimes the voices don’t tell the truth. So it might not be today, it might be tomorrow.
Rika: At Rika House, there was a woman named Kurano-san who was in regular contact with outer space. We told Yamane-kun that he should talk with her. I was living in Rika House at the time and that’s how we convinced him to go to the Rika House. At Rika House, he talked with Kurano-san. We also told him that Erimo Park would be freezing this time of year, but he said, “No no, I have to go.”
Yamane: At that point, people were saying things like, “The wind’s really strong today, you should call it off” or “It’s 15 below zero, so don’t go”
Shio: We said, “We’ll send someone to check it out, so you should stay here for today, Yamane-san.” But he insisted that it had to be today. We tried everything we could to convince him but the one that worked was when we asked him if he had a license.
Rika: Shimono-kun told him that he needed a license to ride a UFO from Erimo Park, so you need to go to the Kawamura Space Center.
Shio: Yamane-san said he didn’t have a license, and we all said, “Oh no no you need a license.” We said that there was someone who tried to ride a UFO without a license, fell off, and broke their leg.
Rika: He asked us, “Is there really a place called the Kawamura Space Center?” And we said, “Yes there is. Who thinks Yamane-kun should go to the Kawamura Space Center?” And everyone raised their hand all at the same time and told him that he should go to the Space Center.
Rika: I think there were 30 people at the meeting.
Matsuo: And those 30 people all raised their hands at the same time, without hesitation?
Rika: Yes, we all raised our hands! Yamane-kun was so astonished by that and said “Gosh, I guess I really do have to go.” Even while hallucinating and delusional, Yamane-kun is such a sweet guy. He took the opinion of the group very seriously. There was no changing his dire need to go, but when we brought up the license we convinced him that before he went to Erimo that he had to go to the Space Center. So he came with us willingly to see Dr. Kawamura.
Shio: We all knew he should go and told him that Dr. Kawamura would issue him his license, so he should go to the center.
Rika: We all knew, but even then we didn’t want to take him to the hospital unwillingly. We didn’t want to go against his wishes and that’s not the way things should be done. We wanted him to be convinced that he should go see Dr. Kawamura. That’s why we listened to what he was saying so seriously about Erimo Park or outerspace. We enjoyed listening to his story and we knew where he was coming from. We knew that there was someone he wanted to rescue. We wanted to acknowledge his feelings as well as convince him to come with us to see Dr. Kawamura.

Scene 6: Urakawa Red Cross Hospital Psychiatric Ward

Intertitle: Dr. Toshiaki Kawamura is the psychiatrist for most of Bethel’s members.
Intertitle: Patients transfer to Urakawa taking dozens of pills each days. Dr. Kawamura greatly reduces the amount of their medication.
Intertitle: He believes that heavy medication only suppresses the problems his patients have. Reducing their dosages allows the problems to appear and for healing to begin.
Intertitle: He also tries to release patients out of the closed wards into the community as soon as possible.
Intertitle: In Bethel’s social environment, they have to come to terms with themselves as social beings.

Kawamura: What we’ve built here in Urakawa, what Bethel has built is the result of the hard experiences of the members. The problems that the members face in their lives. The result of that is that we’ve come up with new ways of solving things, new ways of doing things the Urakawa way. The Bethel way was born from this. The footprints of our experiences the process itself is visible when you look at our members. Although we don’t have much of anything and even thou our hopes for more resources will never get met within each member or within the group when we work together we can face our problems, face our realities. You can see that process when nyou look at the members. I think we’re strong in Urakawa because of that.

Matsumoto: My name is Hiroshi Matsumoto, 34 years old. I have slavery syndrome. He has enslaved me.
Matsumoto: The lord, God, has enslaved me. He controls me.
Man 1: Hey, aren’t you schizophrenic?
Matsumoto: Very, very hard. Job hard. Japanese.
Woman 1: You’re trying to say that working is difficult, right?
Matsumoto: Work… work… by becoming sick….
Woman 1: You’re saying that jobs are demanding right?
Matsumoto: By becoming sick, you get to take a holiday. Easy, very very happy.
Matsumoto: I was working in a sushi restaurant as well as delivering newspapers.
Matsumoto: Very very tired. I went by ambulance to the Red Cross Hospital. Ambulance. My house.

Karen: give me one more pitch

Shimono: The hospital was like a prison, a totally controlled environment.

Shimono: When I thought about it later, instead of going to a psychiatrist I should have gone to a bar and talked out my woes there. That might have cured my emotional illness better. I messed up. They gave me so many sedative meds that I couldn’t even speak properly.
Shimono: Giving meds was all they ever did while I was there and isolated me from the outside world.
Shimono: My father was deep into debt and the interest compounded. And he ended up going to loan sharks. My mother died when I was a child. My father committed suicide when I was in the hospital for the second time. We had to sell the land and the house. Staying in the closed psychiatric ward would be a problem so I ended up coming to Bethel.
Shimono: When I came to Bethel, I saw people in much worse shape than me. And they were just treated as normal and that was a huge relief to me.
Karen: People in worse shape than you?
Shimono: Even though they were feeling unwell, they were still going outside and living a regular life. I thought now that it’s all right, everything is good. It’s getting better now.

Yayoi: At first I thought, “What the heck is this place?” Is this the infamous place with all the sickos and weirdos? But it turned out to be so warm.
Shimono: You weren’t expecting that
Yayoi: No I wasn’t.
Yayoi: It was a such a cozy feeling. The people here have such warm souls.
Shimono: Like what?
Yayoi: I wasn’t loved by my parents so the concept of adults who weren’t my parents even though they weren’t my parents, they gave me unconditional love. They scolded me when I needed scolding but if something happened people like Kiyoshi would tell me, “Just come right over to my house.” Or if I was crying, they would give me a hug and pat my head without saying anything. It seems like stuff like this should be commonplace but it isn’t. That’s what I liked about this place.

Shimono: I don’t hear any voices myself but because I was doing drugs, I was worried about being found out, worried about what the neighbors would think or that I was being followed by the police. So all those fears about what other people thought about me started to haunt me.
Shimono: It was President Clinton…. At the time, I was living by myself. The television was my only friend. I felt the criticism of everyone around me and knew they must be saying, “He should be arrested.” Or “don’t let that guy out in public.” I was in that kind of state. So my only friend was the television. On on it, President Clinton was saying to me, “It’s all right, I’ll protect you, you’re OK.”
Shimono: One week after that, I was hospitalized again.

Punch’n Glove:
Why can’t they accept me just as I am?
Punch’n Glove:
I want to see something good, just as I am
Punch’n Glove:
I want to be allowed to be, just as I am
Punch’n Glove:
Just as I am, my experiences define who I am
Punch’n Glove:
I refuse to let my life be controlled by other people
Punch’n Glove:
I won’t try to solve things by myself
Punch’n Glove:
I’ll take better care of the parts of me that can’t change.
Punch’n Glove:
I won’t forget about myself.
Punch’n Glove:
I will help myself

Scene 7: Social Skills Training

Takei: SST stands for Social Skills Training.
Takei: We work on problems that we face every day by telling each other what was good, what could be improved, through role playing.

Intertitle: Scenario: Takei’s friend Kaku hasn’t been coming to work recently and he is worried about him.

Takei: Kaku-san
Kaku: Oh good morning
Takei: On the 22
nd we’re doing a big clean up, I know that your back hurts but can you come?

Intertitle: Kaku’s role is being played by another member.

Kaku: But I have a date with Asami-san
Takei: Yes, but I’d like you to come
Kaku: OK, I understand, I’ll go.

Etsuko: OK, What was good about what Takei-kun did? OK, what went well? Mizuno-san?
Mizuno: He was able to express his feelings directly.
Etsuko: His statements were appropriate.
Mizuno: Yes.
Man 1: I think his personality came through, his individuality.

Etsuko: More than him working, we just want to see Kaku-san back here, right?
Etsuko: OK, well what could we improve?
Man 1: Tell him that everyone is waiting for him to get back
Etsuko: Tell him everyone is waiting, please come.
Mizuno: Tell him, we haven’t seen his face in a while, we’re lonely and worried about him.
Takei: Worried about him.

Etsuko: The secret to getting Kaku-san back to work is that he’s in a relationship.
Takei: A relationship.
Etsuko: Say, “Please come together with Asami-chan.”
Etsuko: Quite a lot of suggestions came up here.
Takei: I’ll use them all.
Etsuko: Use them all? Ok.

Estsuko: Who’s playing the Kaku-san role? Are you ready?
Takei: He even looks like him.
Kaku: I do?
Woman 1: No he doesn’t.
Kaku: Here we are, Asami-chan.
Takei: Kaku-san, good morning.
Kaku: Good morning.
Takei: On the 22
nd at 1pm, we’re having a big clean up. Can you come with Asami-chan to help?
Kaku: If Asami-chan can come with me, sure.
Takei: I know your back hurts, I’ll make sure that you don’t strain it.
Takei: Everyone at Bura-buraza is worried about you, is waiting for you.

Etsuko: What did you think.
Mizuno: He hit all the points and was able to express himself smoothly, it was great.
Etsuko: You know, I think Kaku-san himself is a bit worried about coming back here. He hasn’t been here in a while, right? You know how you feel when you’ve taken off work? It’d be great to have him be with us for the year-end clean up. We have faith in you.
Takei: I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Etsuko: Mr. Koizumi is Japan’s prime minister. He comes to visit you, right? You hear his voice?

Intertitle: Nozomi role-played a scenario last week so she has to report today on how it turned out.

Etsuko: Mr. Koizumi is one of your good voices, right?
Nozomi: Yes, a good voice.
Etsuko: You practiced last time asking your good voices to help you out.
Etsuko: Did you have a chance to try it out?
Nozomi: Yes I did.
Etsuko: The good thing about her is that if she’s having problems, she immediately calls us. She’d tell us that her right half had disappeared or that her head fell off. Can you describe in more detail for us what is happening in your head?
Nozomi: In detail? In my head there are all these voices that come
Nozomi: Most of them are bad voices, evi…. Voices that piss me off
Etsuko: So what is going on here.
Nozomi: The voices are saying.. more than saying things, they hit me.
Etsuko: OK, physical hallucinations.
Nozomi: Yes, physical hallucinations.
Etsuko: Where are they hitting you?
Nozomi: Here, on my shoulders.
Etsuko: They’re hitting your shoulders
Nozomi: My shoulders or they’re pushing my head down.
Etsuko: They’re saying, “Hey Nozomi”
Nozomi: And things like “Idiot” or “Fool”
Nozomi: Idiot or pervert. Idiot or fool.
Nozomi: Or, I hate you.
Nozomi: Or, you piss me off.
Nozomi: They’re talking to me all the time from morning to night, I’m surprised they don’t get tired.
Etsuko: They talk from morning to night? You really have talkative voices.
Nozomi: They’re talking all the time.

Intertitle: The group suggested that to silence the bad voices in her head, she should recruit the good voices to fight back.

Etsuko: And so your good voices are Mr. Koizumi and Mr. Policeman, right?
Nozomi: The group said I should work on that.
Etsuko: Chidaka-san, do you think you could clearly tell my husband over the phone that “I’m being hit over the head” or maybe tell him “Mr. Policeman is weak and can’t protect me.”
Nozomi: Mr. Mukaiyachi’s voice is the most effective.
Etsuko: So ask him for his help. Tell him in detail, Ok?
Etsuko: OK, can you play the Mr. Mukaiyachi role? Be sure to incorporate the things to improve.

Nozomi: Hello, Mr. Mukaiyachi
Kamei: yes?
Nozomi: This is Chidaka. Right now the voices are hitting me, holding me down, hitting my head. Hitting my head, telling me things like Idiot or Fool or I hate you or You piss me off. I’m hearing these voices, what should I do?
Kamei: OK, I’ll ask Mr. Koizumi to come help you out.
Nozomi: OK, Thank you.
Nozomi: Mr. Mukaiyachi in reality knows Mr. Koizumi, right?
Etsuko: Yes.
Etsuko: Mr. Mukaiyachi is pretty incredible isn’t he? He will really ask Mr. Koizumi to help you. Right? When he says that, it really calms you, right?
Nozomi: Wow, he’s so incredible.
Kamei: This is the end of the SST Meeting.

Kamei: By practicing through SST, I was able to start talking again.
Kamei: I started with the meetings at the group homes. The visiting social worker told me to make more friends. My mom talked with the doctor and she started studying too. I was just withdrawn into myself in day-care when I was told that my skills were being wasted there and told that I should start going to New Bethel. And so I started seaweed packaging.
Kamei: After doing seaweed packaging for a while, I came to the Bura-Buraza store and starting dealing with customers. After doing SST for that, I started to enjoy it.

Takahashi: I came here two years ago, in 2003.
Takahashi: I was in a special school (for the mentally retarded). When I graduated, I came here. I was having trouble with maintaining human relationships.

Kamei: There are a lot of Christians here. And a lot of Bethel’s principles are similar to the church’s principles, to what the bible teaches. Things like, “You’re OK just as you are” or “You don’t have to change” or “Don’t push yourself too hard.”
Man: If you’re in a group home, even if you’re totally withdrawn there are people living right next to you. There’s someone making meals for you, so it’s not like you’d starve to death by yourself like you would in an apartment in the city. So you feel safe living there.

Takahashi: Trouble occasionally happens… once in a while
Kamei: We occasionally have big fights
Takahashi: Big fights, but we resolve them somehow within the group.
Takahashi: We figure out how to get along with each other.
Takahashi: As they say, “Bethel’s just full of problems.”

Scene 8: Morning Meeting Fight

Group: The red sun sets on Bethel
Just as we’re sitting down to our staff-prepared food.
Ahhh-ahhh-ahhhh Bright and sunny mental illness
Among us, some live in group homes and some by themselves.
There are days we cry and days that we feel down
We do SST or we talk about it with friends.
Ahhhh ahhhh ahhh. Bright and sunny mental illness
As long as we’re ill, we’ll have our friends at Bethel.

Woman: Mizoguchi-kun, you having any problems these days?
Mizoguchi: No!
Yoshino: My face hurts these days, the muscles in my face are really stiff.
Yoshino: When I try to speak, my skin feels really taut.
Woman: You know you look like that pop star Chidaka Kaori.
Ohinata: Are you sleeping at night? Taking drugs? Why would your face be puffed up like that?
Ohinata: You wouldn’t have this if you slept and ate properly and lived a wholesome life. That’s why it is coming out in your face. You need to sleep properly and stop messing around with your boyfriend.
Woman: Thank you for those comments. Anyone else have something they want to talk about?
Kibayashi: It smells being next to her.
Ohinata: She smells
Asami: If you say things like that out loud, you’ll hurt her feelings.
Kaku: That was just mean
Kibayashi: No, it’s better to tell her so that she knows. Other people say things about me too.
Ohinata: If she smells, it’s better to tell her that she smells.
Woman: Thank you for those comments, anyone else have any problems these days?
Woman 2: I don’t think that you should be saying she smells, especially in front of her.
Ohinata: No, you need to tell her these things so she can fix it.

Kiyoshi: We should all stick together, since we have so many members, we should support each other. Everyone has their good points, so let’s stop this and work together.

Scene 9: Christmas Caroling

[Ending credits]
Credits: Bethel: Community and Schizophrenia in Northern Japan.
Credits: Filmed on location at Urakawa City, Hokkaido, Japan.
Credits: Bethel Members: Mieko Kibayashi, Nozomi Chidaka, Kiyoshi Hayasaka, Nobuko Iida, Rika Shimizu, Tsutomu Shimono, Kayo Yamamoto, Kohei Yamane, Masako Yoshino, and others.
Credits: Bethel Staff: Etsuko Mukaiyachi, Ikuyoshi Mukaiyachi, Hasegawa-san, Shio Hayasaka, and others.
Credits: Dr. Toshiaki Kawamura, Urakawa Red Cross Hospital.
Credits: Photography and Interviews: Karen Nakamura, Hisako Matsuo.
Credits: Directed and edited by: Karen Nakamura.
Credits: The filmmaker would like to thank the members of Bethel, the Bethel House organization, Dr. Kawamura, and the Urakawa Red Cross Hospital for permission to film.
Credits: Funded by The Abe Foundation, Center for Global Partnership, Social Science Research Council, Yale University Council on East Asian Studies, Yale University Department of Anthropology.
Credits: Thanks also to Karl Heider, Chris Gerteis, William Kelly, and Laura Kissel.
Credits: © 2007 Karen Nakamura
Credits: All rights reserved
Credits: A Manic Films Production

Scene 10: Bonus Scene

Kiyoshi: When this video or film or whatever it is gets to audiences abroad
Kiyoshi: When people overseas watch it, I want them to know that people with psychiatric disabilities aren’t abnormal. If someone is… if your mother gives birth to you.. if you… if you have psychiatric disabilities or are ill right now, please live life with all your energy. Living life is important. Life is something that God has given us and even if you are ill right now, please live life with all your energy. Just because you are ill is no reason to close your soul to the outside world. People with psychiatric or people with physical disabilities, for people who are about to begin life, or for people who are at the end of their life, I think the most important thing is to live now.
Kiyoshi: Thank you very much.
Kiyoshi: You better do a good job with this, Karen.
Karen: You sounded great.
Kiyoshi: Of course I did.
Man: What do they do at Yale University?