In this course we focus on the experiences of, and apparent divisions between Japan’s older and younger generations. Media, social and political debates have become increasingly concerned with demographic issues related to growing divides in values and expectations between different generations of Japanese. Topics considered on this course range from youth, adulthood, ageing, marriage and divorce to fertility and the life-course. Emphasis is placed on the reproduction of the Japanese family and how this has been achieved in different eras. Another concern is Japanese young people and how they have coped at different times in the post-war period with social changes. Contemporary transformations in families and conflicts between generations are being played out in numerous contexts including consumption, employment, welfare and the home. At the same time the continuity of the ‘Japanese family’ remains central to identities, values and institutional arrangements. As well as introducing and analyzing evident social changes in Japan, the course also aims to relate them to, and develop critical understanding of, contemporary debates in sociology and the social sciences. There will also be an emphasis on social science research methods concerning fieldwork practices as well as secondary data collation and analysis in the Japanese context.
- To develop a theoretically informed understanding of socio-demographic shifts and changing family relations in post war Japan.
- To acquire a basic understanding of emerging generational issues in Japan and their significance in, and as a consequence of, broader socioeconomic restructuring.
- To introduce and develop skills in social science research and research methods, and how they apply in the study of Japan and East Asian societies.
- To build and enhance critical skills in approaching and analysing social research and theories, particularly those relating to Japanese society.
Mode of instruction
lecture and tutorial
- Participation element (e.g. attendance, webpostings, in-class assignments): 20%
- Analytical element (e.g. writing assignment or review paper of 1,500 words):40%
- Summative element (e.g. exam, open-book exam, or final paper): 40%
Course reader, available at Studiepunt Letteren, (Lipsius building, Cleveringaplaats 1)
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply