Possession Phenomena in East Asia


Place : Hilton Hotel, Seoul, Korea

Date : February 5-7, 1993



February 5 (Fri)  Hilton Hotel(Hallasan Room)

5:30-6:30PM                     Business Meeting

6:30-8:30PM                     Reception


February 6 (Sat) Hilton Hotel(Chirisan Room)

9:00-9:10AM                     Presidential Address                       Ho-Young Lee, M.D.

9:10-9:12                          Opening Address              Hsien Rin, M.D.

Chairman : Nobuo Nakayasu, M.D.

9:20-10:05                         Possession Phenomena in Taiwan Jung-Kwang Wen, M.D.

10:05-10:25                       Formal Discussion                         Kwang-Iel Kim, M.D.

Coffee Break

11:00-11:50                       General Discussion       Chairman : Hai-Gwo Hwu, M.D.

Zuk-Nae Lee, M.D.


Chirman : Hwan-Il Chang, M.D.

1:30-2:15PM                     Possession Phenomena in Japan  Kenji Kitanishi, M.D.

2:15-2:35                          Formal discussion                          Tai-Ann Cheng, M.D.

Coffee Break

3:10-4:00                          General discussion              Chairman : Kyoichi Kondo, M.D.

Si-Hyung Lee, M.D.

6:00-8:00                          Banquet                                              Korean House

February 7(Sun)  Hilton Hotel

Chairman : Hsien Rin, M.D.

9:00-9:45AM                     Possession Phenomena in Korea        Bou-Yong Rhi, M.D.

9:45-10:05                         Formal Discussion                         Kazuya Yoshimatsu, M.D.

Coffee Break

10:40-11:30                       General Discussion         Chairman : Wei-Tsuen Soong, M.D.

Yoshihiro Narita, M.D.

11:30-11:40                       Closing Address                   President-elect (Japan)



l  This Symposium is supported by THE DAEWOO FOUNDATION of Korea.



Presidential Address


Mankind has always sought spiritual experiences that transcend or obscure the rational and alert mind. When an altered state of mind was deliberately sought and experienced privately, it was regarded as a state of “trance” through which one can pursue awakening, new knowledge, self-realization, healing, prayer, and relaxations.


When a spiritual experience is deliberately yieled and exhibited in public or within a group, however, the altered state of mind itself bears special meaning in a religious or theatrical context ; certain dissociative behaviours of spirit mediators or their clients manifest themselves as “possessed” or “spiritually attacked”.  The ritualistic practice that accompany with such dissociative behaviours still flourish today in many different countries crossing cultural border. Interestingly, the forms and the patterns of such behaviours seem to be characterized by culture: the natures of hallucinations, delusions, shaking, shouting, dancing, speaking in tongues, amnesia and falling unconscious, to name a few. Furthermore, the shaman’s practice to enter into a possessed state is hightly intergrated with the belief system of the culture. He or she is able to create an atomosphere repleted with creativity, trust, credibility and outrageousness to let the client and the audience know that something powerful is about to happen.


The East Asian Academy of Cultural Psychiatry held three biennial symposiums in the past all to discuss about cultural aspects of clinical issues: social phobia, suicide and alcoholism. This time, however, we leap across our conventional ideas about causality of body and mind, and leave our medically biased frame of references to study the phenomenon of possession commonly practiced by shamans. Historically, shamans are the strongest rival of psychiatrist, even to this day of modern civilization. It is, therefore, appropriate for us to study shamans and whatever power that they possess and utilize with their clients. We will discuss the various forms of dissociative or transpersonal states that shamans of Taiwan, Japan and Korea can yield. We should be able to compare them to see different cultural characteristics, and to discover their commonalities.


There will be many interesting connections we will be able to find with our knowledge of psychology, psychobiology, anthropology and psychopathology. We will also explore the mystery and power of those gifted shamans who did not learn this ability to produce possessed states but somehow it is given or inherited to them. Indeed, they are the “astronauts of inner space”, as Kalweit put it.


Our two day meeting will be an exciting journey into a special reality of shamanic world. Lets forget about the streets of Seoul. We are not driving a car. To understand shamanic voyage to a different level of consciousness, we should be prepared to be subjective and leave the materialistic world behind.


As the president of the East Asian Academy of Cultural Psychiatry, I would Like to welcome you to the city of Seoul and to the 4th meeting of the Academy. After the opening address by Dr. Rin, we will enter the door of imagination. Let us enjoy our meeting and mutual friendship once again.


February 6, 1993


Ho Young Lee, M.D.


East Asian Academy of Cultural Psychiatry





Bou-Yong Rhi, M.D.

Professor and Chairman,

Dept. of Neuropsychiatry, Seoul National Univ. Hospital

28 Yeonkun-Dong, Chongro-Ku, Seoul, 110-744, Korea


Ho-Young Lee, M.D.


Dept. of Psychiatry, Yonsei Univ. Severance Hospital

134- shinchon-Dong, Seodaemun-Ku, Seoul, 110-102 Korea


Si-Hyung Lee, M.D.


Dept. of Neuropsychiatry, Korea General Hospital

108 Pyeong-Dong, Chongro-Ku, Seoul, 110-102 Korea


Kwang-Iel Kim, M.D.

Professor and Chairman,

Dept. of Psychiatry, Han Yang Univ. Hospital

17 haengdang-Dong, sungdong-Ku, Seoul, 133-792 Korea


Zuk-Nae Lee, M.D.


Dept. of Neuropsychiatry, Kyung-Pook Univ.Hospital

52 Samduk-dong 2-Ka, Chung-Ku, Taegu, 700-412 Korea


Hwan-Il Chang, M.D

Professor and Chairman,

Dept. of Neuropsychiatry, Kyung Hee Univ. Hospital

1 Hoiki-Dong, Dongdaemun-Ku, Seoul, 135-702 Korea


Hyun-Woo Kim, M.D.


Neuropsychiatric Dept., National Medical Center,

18-79 Ulchiro 6-Ka, Chung-Ku, Seoul, 100-196 Korea






Yomishi Kasahara, M.D.


Dept. of Neuropsychiatry, School of Medicine,

Nagoya National University

Tsurmai-65, Showq-Ku, Nagoya, 466, Japan


Kyoichi Kondo, M.D.(President 1989-90)

Neuropsychiatric Service, Machida City Hospital,

2-15-41, Asahi-Machi, Machida, Tokyo, 194, Japan


Kazuya Yoshimatsu, M.D.

Head, Division of Psychiatry, Psychiatric Research Institute of Tokyo

2-1-8 Kamikitazawa, Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo, 156, Japan


Satoru Saito, M.D.

Depatment of Sociopathology, Psychiatric Research Institute of Tokyo,

2-1-8 Kamikitazawa, Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo, 156, Japan


Kenji Kitanishi, M.D.(Secretary in General)


Dept. of Neurology & Psychiatry, Jikei Daisan Hospital

4-11-1, Izumi Honcho, Komae City, Tokyo, 201, Japan


Yoshihito Narita, M.D.

Head, Dept. of Psychiatry, Chukyo Hospital,

Nagoya, Japan


Nobuo Nakayasu, M.D.

Associate Professor

Dept. of Psychiatry, Medical College, Tokyo University

Tokyo, Japan






Hsien Rin, M.D.


Dept, of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital

#1 Chang-Te St. Taipei

Taiwan, 10016,  R.O.C.


Wei-Tsuen Soong, M.D.


Dept. of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital

#1 Chang-Te St. Taipei

Taiwan, 10016, R.O.C.


Hai-Gwo Hwu, M.D.


Dept. of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital

#1 Chang-Te St. Taipei

Taiwan, 10016, R.O.C.


Jung-Kwang Wen, M.D.

Professor and Chairman,

Dept. of Psychiatry, Kaohsiung Medical College

Kaohsiung, Taiwan, R.O.C.


Tai-Ann Cheng, M.D., Ph.D., MRCPsych.


Dept. of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University

#1 Chang-Te St. Taipei

Taiwan, 10016, R.O.C.