Japan's Evolving Family: Voices from Young Urban Adults Navigating Change
by Glenda S. Roberts
In recent decades, Japan has become a rapidly aging, low-birthrate society. Late marriage and no marriage have also become commonplace. With the prolonged recession, stable employment declined, wages dropped, and the reputation of the prototypical "salaryman" of the postwar period took a beating. In this milieu, how do young adults feel about conventional gender roles? Have attitudes changed in regard to marriage and childrearing, and if so, how? How do the unmarried envision themselves in the future, and how do the married wish to raise their children? In this interview study, diverse views can be heard, but those relating to childbearing and rearing remain fairly conservative. Furthermore, expectations that women should be solely responsible for the "double shift" of household labor and caregiving upon marriage, as well as continued discrimination against women in the workplace and a workplace culture of long hours, appear to underlie the hesitancy young adults have in acting on their dreams in the recessionary economy.
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