Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Lorena Madrigal, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nancy Romero-Daza, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Elizabeth Miller, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dinorah Martinez Tyson, Ph.D.


applied anthropology, biocritical, social determinants of health, Coronavirus, neighborhood demography, Biocultural


This thesis asks, are neighborhood demographic and economic variables connected to COVID-19 infection rates in Tokyo, Japan? I hypothesize that variation in urbanization and neighborhood demographics account for Japan’s low, though not uniform COVID-19 infection rates. This thesis applies several anthropological perspectives: The biocultural perspective because I look at epidemiology of COVID 19 considering socio-cultural, economic, and ecological factors as well as biological susceptibilities. The critical biocultural perspective because I look at how structures of power and inequality may impact health and healthcare access. Biomedical/applied anthropology, well placed to study the current epidemiologic situation of COVID 19 in Japan and any other society with differential access to medical care and exposure to pathogens because its perspectives point out the factors which impede access to health care, even in countries with socialized medicine. Results of these analyses showed significant differences between levels of urbanization, age groups within levels of urbanization, and four demographic variables that are significantly associated with the increase of COVID19 infections.