This book explores social change in Japan at the most intimate site of social interaction – the home – by providing a detailed ethnography of everyday life in a sharehouse. Sharehouses, which emerged in the 2007 'sharehouse boom', are a deliberate alternative to life in the family home and are considered an experimental space for the construction of new social identities.

Through a description of the micro-level, mundane, material interactions among residents within a mid-sized, mixed-sex sharehouse, the book considers what these interactions indicate about existing – and often conflicting – ideas about intimacy, privacy, gender, the individual, family, community, and the home.

In so doing it highlights how sharehouse residents, though a dramatic rejection of the twentieth-century domestic model, with its ideal of the family home as a partnership between a male wage-earner and a dedicated housewife, and its implied separation of 'family' and 'outsiders', are nevertheless uneasy about overturning existing gender roles and giving precedence to the individual over community, and are regarded as a foreign import.

chapter 1|20 pages


chapter 2|21 pages


chapter 3|20 pages

International exchange

chapter 4|20 pages

Public and private

chapter 5|15 pages


chapter 6|20 pages


chapter 7|15 pages

Village society

chapter 8|7 pages