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Cultural Politics of Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Asia$
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Tiantian Zheng

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824852962

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824852962.001.0001

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Marriage and Reproduction in East Asian Cities

Marriage and Reproduction in East Asian Cities

Views from Single Women in Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo

(p.156) Chapter Nine Marriage and Reproduction in East Asian Cities
Cultural Politics of Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Asia

Lynne Nakano

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter states that in East Asia, marriage represents a significant life step for women and involves expectations that the woman is willing and capable of giving birth. Based on interviews with women in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo, Nakano explores how single women living in these three cities view marriage and its expectations of reproduction. Nakano argues that single women do not resist marriage and its expectations that women give birth. Rather women who remain single past the age of thirty maintain that they are personally ill-suited to the institution of marriage or that they have yet to find an appropriate person to marry. Nakano considers the examples of women who wanted to marry because they wanted to become mothers, as well as women who believed that they did not possess a complete female physical body and who felt that they may be incapable of physical reproduction. In these latter cases, women thought themselves to be ineligible for the marriage market, and sought other ways of finding meaning in their lives.

Keywords:   Japan, Hong Kong, Shanghai, single women, marriage, gender roles, reproduction

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