This paper examines different types of social support networks that can relieve loneliness during parenting. Previous research on the relationship between social support networks and well-being during parenting mostly used cross-sectional data, consisted of women as study subjects, and focused exclusively on private rather than public social support networks. In contrast, this study uses nationwide panel data from Japan to examine the types of social support networks, including both private and public support, that could reduce the loneliness of men and women raising children. The main findings of this study are as follows. First, a social support network comprising a husband who provides emotional and instrumental support, and friends who provide emotional support tend to reduce mothers’ loneliness. Second, a social support network comprising a wife who provides emotional support, tsudoi-no-hiroba (gathering plazas), and parenting circles tend to relieve fathers’ loneliness. This paper indicates the possibility that such places could improve fathers’ well-being by allowing fathers to deepen their relationships with other fathers or their children.
This article aims to examine the economic consequences of women’s regular employment in single-mother families, using the nationally representative datasets from the Employment Status Survey of 2007. The propensity score matching (PSM) method, which controls for the observed heterogeneity between those who work as regular employees and those who do not, provides the following main results. First, the single mother’s (re) entry into regular employment increases the average hourly wage by 32.0% and decreases the risk of income poverty by 36.5 to 39.5%. Second, we also find that the causal effects of regular employment on the hourly wage and earning poverty are limited among low-educated single mothers. Third, even if these single mothers succeed in engaging in regular employment, more than half of them cannot escape economic poverty by their own earnings alone. These results suggest that not only work-fare policies that help single mothers work as regular employees, but also those reducing disadvantages women commonly face in the Japanese labor market at the time of marriage and childbearing will be necessary to improve the economic situation of single-mother families.
This paper examines the relationships and challenges within foster households in Japan by understanding the actual state when foster parents acknowledge their foster child as family by clarifying its determinant attributes. Analyzed data were of ongoing foster care cases (n=1,276) and completed foster care cases (n=725) drawn from the Survey on the Registration, Training, and Support for Foster Parents. The findings revealed that although many foster parents view their foster child as “a family member,” only a few do so after aging out. It also confirmed that the closer and stabler the parent–child relationship as that of a normal family, the more likely the child is recognized as a family member, and when the child is not placed with another caregiver, it more likely continues to be regarded as a family member. Since no independent model exists for a foster-child and foster-parent relationship, it causes conflict in foster parents when asked to foster the child as its own parents and the child to consider the foster parents as its actual parents.
We organized an international symposium focusing on the second half of life to promote intercultural academic exchange, as the 9th Board of Directors has stressed that internationalization of the Society is an on-going issue that needs to be addressed. In the late 20th century, many societies achieved mass longevity. The aim of this symposium was to discuss life/death and family in aged societies from an international comparative perspective in recognition of emerging new patterns in parent-child relationships, medical services, nursing care, inheritance, succession, funerals, and graves. Park’s article illustrates tensions associated with family care in contemporary South Korea and points out the necessity of reciprocal relationships among those who are involved in care of the elderly. Asakawa’s article argues the importance of individuals’ rights to self-determination at the end of life in comparison with Western countries. Ando’s article delineates changes in funeral and grave management with respect to the transformation of families in Japan. In discussing life/death in old age, it is important to consider “individualization” in relation to family intentions and interrelationships among family members.
This study aims to examine the characteristics and tensions of family support that have been central to the care system to date. To this end, this study examines the process in which family care has been greatly weakened and social and market care have been complicit in the deepening of contradictions embedded in the family relations of contemporary South Korean society. Family relation of contemporary Korean is characterized by the eclecticism of patrilineal (or paternal) family and couple family ideas, which have born the gigantic ideology of family centeredness and deepened conflicts between gender and generation. Based on the in-depth interview method, the study interprets conflicts and reflection of family care experienced by older people, families, and professional care workers who have experiences of care in various fields.
The meaning of care, which is being reflectively reconstructed in conflictual experiences is reinterpreted. Care was experienced as various conflictual situations while being a process to reconstruct and reflect on the meaning of care through the conflict process. The conflicting characteristics of care situations were interpreted centering on the asymmetry of responsibilities and rights in the economic/material aspects, gender inequality, absence of communication in the emotional dimension, and the meaning of care situations centered on the functional dimension. The new understanding of care value is the interpretation of the meanings of care as understood by participants through this conflictual care experience. The meanings of self-responsibility, which is gradually becoming more important, the importance of self-determination and reciprocal relationships, and care as an opportunity for self-growth and friendship, and healing are interpreted.
Three of four Japanese people die in the hospital. In Europe and the United States, the proportion of hospital deaths is around 50%. Many elderly individuals die at home or in housing complexes with nursing care which they moved in. The place and cause of death clearly indicate the status of medical care and nursing care system of the country as well as the views about life, death, family, and ideals in the culture. Hospital deaths are typically lonely deaths caused by life-prolonging treatments. These are not extensions of life. In Europe and the United States, hospices, used during the time when an individual is about to die, are small housing complexes similar to a “second home.” Intensive palliative care along with life support is provided. In Japan, even in palliative care wards, 30% patients die because of distress and pain. Prioritizing the quality of life (QOL) creates the possibility of dying from old age with palliative care rather than after distressing life-prolonging treatments. Enhancing the quality of death (QOD) is a part of palliative care. Placing the individual patient first and foremost means fostering QOL and QOD. Families should not interfere with the patient’s wishes; however, the Japanese society has deep-rooted principles of family supremacy. However, measures to improve QOL and QOD are increasingly being incorporated owing to the rapid increase in death due to old age.
In Japan, many people worship their ancestors, and the grave is an object of worship and a symbol of the family. But the ways in which families dispose of remains has changed since the 1980s. New systems such as “the de-succession of the grave” (haka-no-datukeishou), perpetual memorial services held by temples (eitaikuyo), tree burials (jumokuso), and scattering of ashes (sankotsu) have emerged that are less burdensome for families to manage. According to Makimura (2005), there are three characteristics of the current system for the disposition of remains: “community/cooperation,” “intangibility/formlessness,” and “term of validity.” I will research recent trends using surveys conducted by local governments. Those surveys show that more than half of people prefer a traditional grave, but few choose goudoubo/gousoubo or nokotsudo. Even when someone chooses a system for disposition involving these three conditions, his/her family will visit the grave. In this respect, the choice is premised on having a grave to visit, and a new system would be based on that. Although it would hardly change Japanese mentality, which I call an “ie-mentality,” new systems for the disposition of remains will emerge as businesses.