The Impact Of Chinese Culture On The Country’s Views On Sexuality

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For a very long time, sex and sexuality have been considered a taboo topic that is not discussed enough in medical settings. In the Western world, there is so much freedom when it comes to sexuality; it is a common topic of discussion that has become normalized through social media, so much so that it has almost become a dull noise in the background. Many Eastern countries, however, adopt very conservative laws, in which discussing sex and sexuality openly is considered highly taboo. This is an issue because sexuality is a basic need and concern for both men and women, and regardless of what country one comes from, it can often be very difficult to talk to health care workers about such a personal topic.

Among the various Asian countries, Japan seems to stand out the most in terms of culture; despite the fact that Japan is at the forefront of technological advancement, the country and its people manage to maintain their culture and values. Japan is a country that can be considered as both modern and conservative, and the topic discussed in this paper pertains to how this culture impacts the country’s views on sexuality. These views can be established by analyzing sexuality in Japanese history, and sexuality as it is taught in schools in Japan today. Furthermore, another topic that will be covered is cultural competence in a medical setting, and how to provide culturally sensitive care and prevent ethnocentrism and stereotyping with patients from different backgrounds. A thorough analysis of the aforementioned topics will help to determine how becoming culturally competence impacts the quality of patient care.

The history of Japanese sexuality begins during the postwar occupation of Japan in 1945. The end of World War II signaled the end of the Japanese empire and the rise of the Unites States as a military power in Asia. This period of time was primary dominated by the fear and anxiety of the arrival of the Allied occupation, and what people feared most was the endangerment of Japanese people, and Japanese women in particular. Rumours spread among the defeated Japanese population, and although the occupation had not even arrived yet, civilians were filled with fear in regards to what they would expect from the occupational forces. Japan’s military defeat seemed to cause somewhat of a gendered anxiety, where Japanese men’s fear of not being able to protect Japanese women from the possibility of mass-rape by foreign soldiers resulted from a loss of manhood from the war. During this time, the women of Japan found themselves fearing an absent enemy, and soon declared that the appropriation of prostitution was necessary in order to prevent rape and violent assault.

Japan’s system of prostitution was originated from the country’s wartime comfort women system, which helped impact expansion. Just like in other parts of the world, many young Japanese women were forced into sexual slavery, and it didn’t help much that their statuses were stigmatized and looked down upon. These women were the perfect model for U.S. soldiers who were looking to prove why countries like Japan needed colonial rule. At the time, Japan’s patriarchal government continued to maintain prostitution as it helped to control the male sex drive, but also served as an example for daughters of respectable families, which feminists would argue is an unfair double standard. The system of prostitution was not only limited to Japan, as many Japanese women either emigrated or were forcefully sent to parts of East and Southeast Asia to work as sex workers. As prostitution became a reliable and popular institution, the government continued to support, fund, and take advantage of this institution, all while openly stigmatizing the women who chose or were forced into this lifestyle.

Despite Japan’s dark past of prostitution and colonization, the country’s views on sexuality are changing. Nowadays, children are receiving sexual education at school, and are being taught about contraception and safe sexual intercourse. Although a handful of conservative parents call this “excessive sex education”, many parents are supportive of Japanese schools’ decisions to provide children with sexual education. In a study done by a group of researchers in Japan, parents were asked about their interest in their child’s sexual education, as well as their willingness to teach children on their own. Survey results showed that Japanese parents considered school to be an appropriate setting to teach children about the various aspects of sexuality, and they expressed interest in having a school psychologist or an organization specializing in sexuality education to teach their children about sexuality, as opposed to a teacher or doctor.

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Japanese medical schools are also pushing for a more in-depth sexual health component in their curriculum. In a study done by Japanese researchers, questionnaires were mailed to chair professors of urology in all Japanese medical schools, and the results showed that the curriculum for these schools were somewhat insufficient in regards to sexual education. However, according to the same study, “it is difficult to secure sufficient curriculum hours for sexuality education in medical schools because of the wide variety of subjects taught in modern medicine.”

By studying various cultures and their views on death, pain, aging, or sexuality, nurses and others who work in the medical field can combat ethnocentrism and stereotyping in the workplace. These factors actually play a huge role in a medical setting, as nurses are constantly interacting with patients from various cultures. Without the proper knowledge and understanding of cultural sensitivity, it is very easy for nurses to resort to ethnocentrism and stereotyping.

Ethnocentrism refers to the belief that one’s own culture is superior to others and this is the most toxic and damaging belief to hold in a medical setting. Like all other medical fields, nursing is based around a patient-first system, so to brush aside a patient’s culture and declare your own culture as superior is practically unethical. Take, for example, a scenario in which a pregnant Japanese patient is uncomfortable with getting an abortion as doing so is considered taboo and shameful in her culture. In a situation like this, you must take into consideration the patient’s cultural views, and be mindful of how their culture might approach healthcare. In this scenario, a nurse can either force the patient to comply with mainstream culture and its views on abortion, or the nurse can respect the patient’s wishes and try to learn more about their culture. The former response is an example of ethnocentrism, and the latter is an example of cultural competence.

The same goes for stereotyping in the workplace; just like ethnocentrism, stereotyping can ruin a nurse’s reputation as a caregiver, and overall, it can damage the nurse-client relationship. Virtually, one cannot provide culturally sensitive care if they actively engage in ethnocentrism and stereotyping. As a nursing student, I will try my best to deal with ethnocentrism and stereotyping in the workplace by educating myself on culturally sensitive healthcare. This can be done by doing online research, or simply talking to clients about what makes them comfortable.

Medical settings like doctor’s offices and hospitals can already be intimidating for patients, so I will try my best to ensure that patients are comfortable with the quality of healthcare by speaking to them and getting to know their cultural background. After studying sexuality in Japanese culture, I now have a broader understanding of how to approach this topic when interacting with patients of Japanese descent. Before doing the research for this paper, I was unsure of how to go about discussing a topic like with a patient, as I also come from a culture where openly discussing sexuality is considered taboo. Now, however, I feel like I have adequately educated myself on how to go about dealing with sexuality in relation to Japanese patients. In conclusion, Japan has come a very long way in regards to views on sexuality. As Japan is rapidly advancing, so is the country’s views on sexuality, and nowadays more and more parents are wanting for their children to be educated on sexuality at school, but at the same time, there are still parents who disagree with the idea of schools teaching such a personal topic to young, impressionable students. Similarly, medical schools in Japan have a long way to go in terms of including a detailed sexual health component in their curriculums, because although members of the medical schools’ faculty hold a positive attitude towards sexual education in medical schools, this attitude must translate into the schools’ curriculums as well. Despite Japan’s advancement and modernity, the country still manages to maintain its culture and beliefs. It is very important for a nurse to consider a patient’s ethnic background and culture when providing healthcare, as doing so can eliminate the patient’s discomfort, and can also strengthen the nurse-client relationship.

As a nursing student, I try my best to provide patients with culturally sensitive care that takes their comfort into consideration and places their satisfaction as a top priority. Nursing is based around a patient-first system, so it is important that one is not engaging in ethnocentrism and stereotyping in the workplace, as these behaviours can negatively impact a patient.

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