Capturing Contemporary JapanDifferentiation and Uncertainty

Capturing Contemporary JapanDifferentiation and Uncertainty

Satsuki Kawano, Glenda S. Roberts, and Susan Orpett Long

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780824838683

Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press

Abstract

What are people's life experiences in present-day Japan? This book addresses fundamental questions vital to understanding Japan in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Its chapters collectively reveal a questioning of middle-class ideals once considered the essence of Japaneseness. In the postwar model household a man was expected to obtain a job at a major firm that offered life-long employment; his counterpart, the “professional” housewife, managed the domestic sphere and the children, who were educated in a system that provided a path to mainstream success. In the past twenty years, however, Japanese society has seen a sharp increase in precarious forms of employment, higher divorce rates, and a widening gap between haves and have-nots. The book examines work, schooling, family and marital relations, child rearing, entertainment, lifestyle choices, community support, consumption and waste, material culture, well-being, aging, death and memorial rites, and sexuality. The voices in the book vary widely: They include schoolchildren, teenagers, career women, unmarried women, young mothers, people with disabilities, small business owners, organic farmers, retirees, and the elderly.