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The family in twenty-first century Japan: between nation and transnation

Chapter


Abstract


  • The family has often been seen as a transhistorical institution and in many

    times and places has been viewed as the most basic unit of society. In the

    context of current concerns about the low birth rate and high longevity in

    contemporary Japan, the family is the focus of attention. Although there are

    certainly specificities about Japan's current demographic crisis (Mackie,

    2013a), a survey of modem Japanese history would reveal that the family has

    been in constant transition. The fluidity offamily forms was recently brought

    home to me when I had the opportunity to look at some documentary films

    from about 30 years ago. In 1980, the Japan Foundation produced a documentary

    film about a multi-generational family- the Hanawa family- living

    in Nerima Ward in the west of Tokyo (Japan Foundation, 1980). The four

    generations of the family included members born under two vastly different

    political and social systems: Imperial Japan (1890-1945) and post-war Japan.

    The older generations of the family had experienced World War II, the Allied

    Occupation of Japan and post-war reconstruction and economic growth.

    The documentary was produced on the cusp of the economic boom of the

    1980s, known colloquially as the 'bubble years'. The youngest members of

    the Hanawa family, toddlers and primary-school children at the time the film

    was produced, would have come of age in the years of economic recession

    and would have been most likely to become members of the 'lost generation'

    of the 1990s (Dasgupta, 2009, pp. 79-95). This documentary provides a sense

    of the changing forms of family over the course of the twentieth century. In

    order to chronicle the family in early twenty-first-century Japan, however, it

    is necessary to investigate a variety of family forms, which increasingly

    include transnational connections and which involve encounters with diversity

    within the very walls of the family home.

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Mackie, V. (2015). The family in twenty-first century Japan: between nation and transnation. In T. Aoyama, L. Dales & R. Dasgupta (Eds.), Configurations of Family in Contemporary Japan (pp. 148-157). Oxford: Routledge.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/2099

Book Title


  • Configurations of Family in Contemporary Japan

Start Page


  • 148

End Page


  • 157

Abstract


  • The family has often been seen as a transhistorical institution and in many

    times and places has been viewed as the most basic unit of society. In the

    context of current concerns about the low birth rate and high longevity in

    contemporary Japan, the family is the focus of attention. Although there are

    certainly specificities about Japan's current demographic crisis (Mackie,

    2013a), a survey of modem Japanese history would reveal that the family has

    been in constant transition. The fluidity offamily forms was recently brought

    home to me when I had the opportunity to look at some documentary films

    from about 30 years ago. In 1980, the Japan Foundation produced a documentary

    film about a multi-generational family- the Hanawa family- living

    in Nerima Ward in the west of Tokyo (Japan Foundation, 1980). The four

    generations of the family included members born under two vastly different

    political and social systems: Imperial Japan (1890-1945) and post-war Japan.

    The older generations of the family had experienced World War II, the Allied

    Occupation of Japan and post-war reconstruction and economic growth.

    The documentary was produced on the cusp of the economic boom of the

    1980s, known colloquially as the 'bubble years'. The youngest members of

    the Hanawa family, toddlers and primary-school children at the time the film

    was produced, would have come of age in the years of economic recession

    and would have been most likely to become members of the 'lost generation'

    of the 1990s (Dasgupta, 2009, pp. 79-95). This documentary provides a sense

    of the changing forms of family over the course of the twentieth century. In

    order to chronicle the family in early twenty-first-century Japan, however, it

    is necessary to investigate a variety of family forms, which increasingly

    include transnational connections and which involve encounters with diversity

    within the very walls of the family home.

Publication Date


  • 2015

Citation


  • Mackie, V. (2015). The family in twenty-first century Japan: between nation and transnation. In T. Aoyama, L. Dales & R. Dasgupta (Eds.), Configurations of Family in Contemporary Japan (pp. 148-157). Oxford: Routledge.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/2099

Book Title


  • Configurations of Family in Contemporary Japan

Start Page


  • 148

End Page


  • 157