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Patient-Centered Development?: Comparing Japanese and Other Gynecological Examination Tables and Practices


In Japan, gynecological examinations (GEs) are normally conducted on a specially designed examination table called naishin-dai. Recent naishin-dai are remarkably high-tech, equipped with mechanisms to automatically position the patient perfectly for the GE, so “all patients need to do is sit.” However, such hightech machines are not commonly used in the West. To determine what sociocultural contexts legitimize and encourage such development, we conducted semistructured interviews with manufacturers of naishin-dai and gynecology practitioners in Japan, as well as gynecology practitioners in Taiwan, South Korea, Britain, France, and the United States. Comparative analysis of these data by employing the concept of genderscript revealed that multilayered and interrelated inscriptions of gendered norms and relations provided such legitimacy and encouragement. Furthermore, the genderscripts of naishin-dai are in fact East Asian genderscripts, which reveal how traditional East Asian stereotypes of women patients are framed in the practice of modern Western gynecology.