In postwar Japan, the generational contract within a stem-family framework socially and conventionally allocated the care of the elderly and the family dead to their descendants, as a moral obligation. The care given to the elderly in the generational contract was not based upon altruism; younger generations accumulated credit by participating in this system of elder care so that they could eventually depend on others for care when they grew old. Social actors, particularly siblings, have unequal access to available lifestyle options, for example, taking certain jobs or marrying certain partners. These lifestyle choices, in turn, shape the allocation of care rights and resources in the next generation. Similarly, ash scattering constitutes a lifestyle option that shapes the actors' generational relations in their late adulthood and after death. It is thus important to review the ways in which the generational contract filters the available options and shapes generational relations. This chapter explores actors' changing access to lifestyle options in a world in which the role that age plays in structuring their options is also shifting.
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