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Focus 3+4 Lecture Focus Sociology: Youth, Family and Intergenerational Relations in Japan


Admission requirements

No prerequisites.


In this course we focus on the features of, and emerging divisions between Japan’s post-war and contemporary generations. Media, social and political debates have become increasingly dominated by demographic issues related to growing divides in experiences, values and expectations between different generations of Japanese. Topics considered on this course range from youth and adulthood, marriage, divorce, fertility, life courses and ageing. 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 employment, welfare, consumption 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 related to risk, neo-liberalization, globalization and welfare regimes. 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.

Course objectives

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.


See timetable

Mode of instruction

Lecture and tutorial

Assesment method

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%


Yes, see Blackboard.

Reading List

Course reader, available at Studiepunt Letteren, (Lipsius building, Cleveringaplaats 1)


Via Usis.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

Dr. Richard Ronald.