Family and social policy in Japan : anthropological approaches


Family and social policy in Japan : anthropological approaches

edited by Roger Goodman

(Contemporary Japanese society)

Cambridge University Press, 2002

  • : hardback
  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references and index



Social policies reflect and construct important ideas in societies about the relationship between the state and the individual. This 2002 book examines this relationship in a number of hitherto unexplored areas in Japanese society including policies relating to fertility, peri-natal care, child care, child abuse, sexuality, care for the aged and death. The conclusion is that a great change has taken place in all these areas through the 1990s as a consequence of Japan's changing economy, demography and the development of civil society. The case studies, based on intensive anthropological fieldwork, not only demonstrate how and why family and social policies have evolved in the world's second largest economy, but in the process provide a challenge to many of the assumptions of western policymakers. The empirical material contained in this volume will be of interest to anthropologists and to students and practitioners.


  • 1. Introduction: anthropology, policy and the study of Japan Roger Goodman
  • 2. Toward a cultural biography of civil society in Japan Victoria Lynn Bestor
  • 3. Pinning hopes on angels: reflections from an aging Japan's urban landscape Glenda Roberts
  • 4. Reproducing identity: maternal and child health care for foreigners in Japan Setsuko Lee and Carolyn Stevens
  • 5. State, standardization and 'normal' children: an anthropological study of a preschool Eyal Ben-Ari
  • 6. Child abuse in Japan: 'discovery' and the development of policy Roger Goodman
  • 7. Touching of the hearts: an overview of programs to promote interaction between the generations in Japan Leng Leng Thang
  • 8. Death policies in Japan: the state, the family and the individual Yohko Tsuji
  • 9. Embodiment, citizenship and social policy in contemporary Japan Vera Mackie.

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