The initiative to develop a hearing voices network was taken by longstanding INTERVOICE member, Wakio Sato, a psycholgist and the chair of an NPO body which runs a community mental health support centre. Wakio became interested in the work on hearing voices when working in one of the Richmond Fellowship facilities in the UK in the 1990′s. On his return to Japan he introduced the research through translating articles about hearing voices for Japanese psychological journals.
The first public meeting was held in June 1996 attended by eight people including two voice hearers. From this beginning the group went on to organise three public meetings with a guest speaker from the Resonance, (the Dutch National Voice Hearing Network) in December 1996. These meetings were very successful and were attended by over 400 people.
The Japanese Hearing Voices Network was established in this way and has been gradually growing. Now it has a membership of 160 people with a small membership fee, and three small groups in different areas meet bimonthly, one of which is just for voice hearers.
In 2000, Marius Romme, Sandra Escher and Ron Coleman conducted a lecture tour of the country.
A regular newsletter is sent to all members and other interested groups and agents. They also run symposia and workshops in cooperation with The Japanese Association of Clinical Psychogy of which Wakio is the former president.
For further information about hearing voices activities in Japan, contact [email protected]