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Capturing Contemporary JapanDifferentiation and Uncertainty$
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Satsuki Kawano, Glenda S. Roberts, and Susan Orpett Long

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838683

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838683.001.0001

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Being a Man in a Straitened Japan

Being a Man in a Straitened Japan

The View from Twenty Years Later

(p.60) Chapter 2 Being a Man in a Straitened Japan
Capturing Contemporary Japan

Gordon Mathews

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter explores the long-term socioeconomic changes in Japan since the 1980s from the perspective of middle-aged and older people. Drawing on interviews with twenty-one men and women, it highlights the changing nature of what it is to be a man in Japan today. More specifically, it considers changing Japanese concepts of masculinity and how they reflect two intertwining variables: those of history and of life course. It shows that work, which used to be the primary source of manhood about two decades ago, is no longer sufficient for men to financially support their families to have fulfilling, satisfying lives. It also discusses the shift in gender-segregated roles and its impact on the marriages of middle-aged and older people. The chapter addresses other issues relevant to the lives of middle-aged and older people, including marital satisfaction, marital ideals, aging, retirement, divorce, religion, disability, and child rearing.

Keywords:   socioeconomic changes, older people, masculinity, work, manhood, gender-segregated roles, marriage, aging, retirement, disability

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