chapter  10
11 Pages

Change and diversity in the Japanese family

ByMerry White

Families in Japan have as many stories to tell as there are social classes, historical cultures, legal codes, economic conditions, and ultimately as there are families. The title of this essay should have the last three words in quotation marks: it would be easier to discuss Japanese family life if there were™ a “Japanese family.” What makes it a singular idea of family is the force of ideology and power promoting that ideology; a storyline of what family should be, rather than what it is. Observations over time reveal the complexity of ordinary lives – and the impossibility of describing “the Japanese family.” We will treat the expectations of and the realities for families over time, the socio-economic conditions with which, or under which, families might be described.