John W. Traphagan is Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of Taming Oblivion: Aging Bodies and the Fear of Senility in Japan, published by SUNY Press, and the coeditor (with Kiyotaka Aoyagi and Peter J. M. Nas) of Toward Sustainable Cities: Readings in the Anthropology of Urban Environments. John Knight is Lecturer at the School of Anthropological Studies at Queen's University Belfast. He is the editor of Natural Enemies: People-Wildlife Conflicts in Anthropological Perspective.
By emphasizing the extensive cultural diversity from one region to another, this book represents a paradigm shift from former studies of Japanese families, which relied mostly on national average data. The method of analysis adopted in the study is qualitative, with a historical perspective. The book is thus an invitation to more in-depth, qualitative dialogue in the field of family sociology in Japan.
This book will be of great interest not only to Asian scholars, but also to other specialists in comparative family studies around the world.
The book contextualises the shift from the hegemonic post-war image of standard family life, to the nuclear family and to a situation now where Japanese homes are more likely to include unmarried singles; childless couples; divorcees; unmarried adult children and elderly relatives either living alone or in nursing homes. It discusses how these new patterns are both reinforcing and challenging typical understandings of Japanese family life.
The book has a dual purpose: to portray the intimate, day-to-day lives of people living in a remote part of Japan, and to describe how one anthropologist tries – and eventually fails – to "become at one" with his informants. Throughout, the book questions the premises of participant observation, which has become a mainstay of modern anthropology.
It argues that social ageing is a phenomenon that follows in the wake of industrialization, urbanization and social modernization, bringing about changes in values, institutions, social structures, economic activity, technology and culture, and posing many challenges for the countries affected. Focusing on the experience of Japan, the author explores:how Japan has recognized the emerging problems relatively early because during the past half century population ageing has been more rapid in Japan than in any other country how all of Japanese society is affected by social ageing, not just certain substructures and institutions, and explains its complex causes, describes the resulting challenges and analyses the solutions under consideration to deal with it the nature of Japan’s population dynamics since 1920, and argues that Japan is rapidly moving in the direction of a ‘hyperaged society’ in which those sixty-five or older account for twenty-five per cent of the total population the implications for family structures and other social networks, gender roles and employment patterns, health care and welfare provision, pension systems, immigration policy, consumer and voting behaviour and the cultural reactions and ramifications of social ageing.
After a chance encounter with an extraordinary ninety-year-old woman, renowned gerontologist Karl Pillemer began to wonder what older people know about life that the rest of us don't.
His quest led him to interview more than one thousand Americans over the age of sixty-five to seek their counsel on all the big issues: children, marriage, money, career, aging. Their moving stories and uncompromisingly honest answers often surprised him. And he found that he consistently heard advice that pointed to these thirty lessons for living. Here he weaves their personal recollections of difficulties overcome and lives well lived into a timeless book filled with the hard-won advice these older Americans wish someone had given them when they were young.
Like This I Believe, StoryCorps's Listening Is an Act of Love, and Tuesdays with Morrie, 30 Lessons for Living is a book to keep and to give. Offering clear advice toward a more fulfilling life, it is as useful as it is inspiring.