Contemporary Japan is in a state of transition, caused by the forces of globalization that are derailing its ailing economy, stalemating the political establishment and generating alternative lifestyles and possibilities of the self. Amongst this nascent change, Japanese society is confronted with new challenges to answer the fundamental question of how to live a good life of meaning, purpose and value. This book, based on extensive fieldwork and original research, considers how specific groups of Japanese people view and strive for the pursuit of happiness. It examines the importance of relationships, family, identity, community and self-fulfilment, amongst other factors. The book demonstrates how the act of balancing social norms and agency is at the root of the growing diversity of experiencing happiness in Japan today.
Table of Contents
Part I: Introduction
1. Happiness in Japan through the anthropological lens, Wolfram Manzenreiter and Barbara Holthus
Part II: Family, Intimacy and Friendship
2. More than just nakayoshi: Marital intimacy as a key to personal happiness, Dalit Bloch
3. Intimate relationships: Friendships, marriage and gender in Japan, Laura Dales
4. Happiness and unconventional life choices: Views of single women in Japan, Lynne Nakano
5. Physical intimacy and happiness in Japanese families: Sexless marriages and parent-child co-sleeping, Yoshie Moriki
6. Japanese gays, the closet and the culture-dependent concept of happiness, Erick Laurent
7. Grandfathering in contemporary Japan: Altruistic and self-serving means to happiness, Hiroko Umegaki-Costantini
Part III: Self and Community
8. Makers and doers: Using actor-network theory to explore happiness in Japan’s invisible civil society, Patricia G. Steinhoff
9. Dimensions of happiness for young political activists: A case study of "Greens Japan" members, Phoebe Holdgrün
10. Living and working for the moment: Motivations, aspirations and experiences of disaster volunteers in Tōhoku, Susanne Klien
11. "A really warm place": Well-being, place, and the experiences of buraku youth, Christopher Bondy
12. “My life is Taiyō Kōmuten”: On the relationship between organized football fandom and happiness in Japan, Martin Lieser
13. The midnight community, or under-the-counter happiness, Carmen Tamas and Adrian Tamas
Part IV: Conclusions
14. Happiness in neoliberal Japan, Gordon Mathews
15. Happiness as balancing act between agency and social structure, Barbara Holthus and Wolfram Manzenreiter
Wolfram Manzenreiter is Professor of Japanese Studies, Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria.
Barbara Holthus is Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies, Japanese Studies section, at the University of Vienna, Austria.