On December 14, 2008, Dr. Takanobu Imanaka, former assistant director of Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital, gave a lecture entitled “Living, Becoming Ill, and Dying with a Sense of Well-Being” in Taipei, Taiwan. Hosted by the Asia-Pacific Cultural, Economic, and Academic Foundation in collaboration with Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters in Taiwan, the lecture drew 262 listeners including some representatives from official bodies. In his speech, Dr. Imanaka introduced whole-person medicine implemented in Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital and spoke about what it meant to live with a sense of well-being based on his own experiences in medicine.
This lecture was organized as a result of last October’s publication in Taiwan of a Chinese translation of his book Living, Becoming Ill, and Dying with a Sense of Well-Being. After Bishop Yoshiaki Mihama of the Mission Headquarters in Taiwan donated copies of this book to some officials in government offices and public institutions, he received an offer to invite Dr. Imanaka to speak in Taiwan from Mr. Xu Shuide, chair of the aforementioned foundation, who became interested in the concept of whole-person medicine discussed in the book. Mr. Xu, who visited the Home of the Parent when he was Taiwanese ambassador to Japan, has held several important positions in government-related organizations.
In his lecture, Dr. Imanaka discussed the whole-person medicine practiced in Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital in comparison with increasingly specialized and segmented contemporary medicine in Japan. Referring to medical cases where patients got better more quickly when healthcare professionals had listened to what they had to say on a daily basis, he stressed, “It is medicine’s role not only to remove patients’ physical pains caused by diseases but also to address their mental sufferings and worries.”
He went on to say that we might not be able to have a truly peaceful end of life unless physical, psychological, and social well-being is supported by spiritual well-being. “In order to meet illness and aging with a healthy attitude over the course of our life,” he said, “it is important to accept illness positively instead of negatively.”
He concluded his lecture by saying: “Refusing to meet aging or death might decrease your life energy and shorten your life span. I think it is ideal for us to accept aging and, without turning away from death, to end our life in full appreciation of the life we have had the opportunity to live.”
After the lecture, Mr. Xu commented on the lecture, saying that he was impressed by the way Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital takes sincere care of patients’ minds. He says, “I was able to learn the significance and greatness of what it really means to live with a sense of well-being.”