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Wednesday, Aug 25, 2004

latch ki

"Inside every neologism lies a compact history of cultural change -- think McJobs, metrosexuals, the blogosphere. In Japan, the coining of kokoro no kaze marked a sea change in people's thinking about depression. That transformation was triggered by the pharmaceutical industry's other contribution to Japan in 1999: along with providing a catchy slogan for mild depression, the industry provided a cure: modern antidepressants. More than a decade ago, Peter Kramer chronicled the capacity of those drugs to reshape the cultural landscape in ''Listening to Prozac.'' But back then the culture they reshaped was the culture that had shaped them. Now, a huge campaign by the pharmaceutical industry is publicizing mild depression, which most Japanese didn't realize existed until recently. Japan has become a proving ground for what we stand to gain and lose by the global expansion of Western psychopharmacology."