This book presents an ethnographic investigation of intimate and reproductive behaviour in current Japanese society, grounded in the viewpoints of a group of Japanese mothers. It adopts a new approach in studying the decreasing fertility rates which are contributing to the ageing population in modern Japan. Based on the accounts of 57 married Japanese women, it employs symbolic interactionism as a framework to examine the various factors affecting decision-making on childbirth. The influence of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs), abortion and contraception in the daily interactions and experiences of the mothers are analysed to offer a new perspective on the Japanese demographic conundrum. With strong contextual information as the foundation, the book contributes fresh insight into how Japanese women perceive the idea of childbirth in a modernized society, and also assists our understanding of the factors causing Japan’s ageing population. Further, it places the mothers’ experiences within current global debates to highlight the salience of the Japanese case.
As the first book to provide an in-depth examination of the social process underpinning the decision to become a mother in Japan, it will appeal to students and scholars of Japanese culture and society, Gender Studies, and Sociology.
1 The Demographic Cliff
2 Researching Intimacy and Reproduction
3 Unintended Pregnancies
4 Intended Pregnancies
5 Assisted Pregnancies
6 Middle-class Pregnancies