2004 年 49 巻 2 号 p. 3-19,158
The purpose of this study is to examine how the "modern family" value has been maintained in contemporary Japan. Contrary to other studies that describe the legitimization of this value as a reproductive process, this study aims to describe it as a process of survival, which assumes the existence of challenges to its legitimacy. It supposes the appearance of assisted reproductive technologies to be one of the challenges. Examining discourses on those technologies, it analyzes the transformation of rhetoric to allow this value to survive.
The result of this study was as follows: until the early 1970's, this value had been justified by the "natural order" rhetoric; the view that a married couple must bring up their children because of right beyond personal will. However, the other view that people had to reproduce on eugenic grounds for the benefit of society made its legitimacy unstable. The "modern family" value succeeded in overcoming this crisis by employing the "right" rhetoric, meaning that judgment of doing reproduction depended on the couple's will. However, in the early 1990's, the opinion that criticism of procreation by unmarried persons made light of their intentions began to stand out. The "modern family" value countered this challenge with the "responsibility" rhetoric, that a person who wanted to have a baby should control themselves within the terms of the value to best protect the baby's life.
This explicated the following two findings: First, this value, although exposed to the opposite opinions of reproduction for the sake of society or for the individual, has managed to retain its legitimacy. Second, this value has gradually strengthened its control over peoples' minds. In fact, society has come to estimate people by the strength of their faith in this value as well as by whether or, not they obey it.