chapter  12
19 Pages

Balancing fatherhood and work: emergence of diverse masculinities in contemporary Japan


In this chapter, I discuss the emergence of diverse masculinities in contemporary Japan by examining how ‘childcaring’ fathers construct and maintain their masculinities. I first describe the interrelated theoretical concepts of hegemonic and marginalized masculinities and then trace the political-social-economic context in Japan in which alternative masculine identities and practices focusing on family and fatherhood have begun to appear. Second, I discuss data from interviews and observations of fathers who are actively involved in parenting and housework. Most of these men belong to Otoko mo Onna mo Ikuji Jikan o Renrakukai (Childcare Hours for Men and Women Network, also known as Ikujiren), a Japanese advocacy group for fathers’ active involvement in childcare. I illustrate how these active family men utilize their childcaring experiences to construct and redefine their masculinities.