1st Edition

Life Course, Happiness and Well-being in Japan

Edited By Barbara Holthus, Wolfram Manzenreiter Copyright 2017
    298 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    298 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Much of the existing literature on happiness in Japan has been produced in the field of economics and psychology and is quantitative in nature. Here, for the first time, a group of anthropologists and sociologists jointly analyze the state of happiness and unhappiness in Japan among varying social groups in its physical, interpersonal, existential and structural dimensions, offering new insights into fundamental issues.

    This book investigates the connections between sociostructural aspects, individual agency and happiness in contemporary Japan from a life course perspective. The contributors examine quantitative and qualitative empirical data on the processes that impact how happiness and well-being are envisioned, crafted, and debated in Japan across the life-cycle. Therefore, the book discusses the shifting notions of happiness during people’s lives from birth to death, analyzing the age group-specific experiences while taking into consideration people’s life trajectories and historical changes. It points out recent developments in regards to demographic change, late marriage, and the changing labor market and focuses on their significant impact on the well-being of Japanese people. In particular it highlights the interdependencies of lives within the family and how families are collaborating for the purpose of maintaining or enhancing the happiness of its members.

    Broadening our understanding of the multidimensionality of happiness in Japan, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of Japanese Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology.

    Introduction: Making sense of happiness in "unhappy Japan"

    Barbara Holthus and Wolfram Manzenreiter


    Chapter 1. Tanoshikatta ne? Learning to be happy in Japanese preschools

    Eyal Ben-Ari

    Chapter 2. "Because I feel happy": Japanese first graders’ views about schooling and well-being

    Yoko Yamamoto

    Chapter 3. "Unhappy" and isolated youth in the midst of social change: Representations and subjective experiences of hikikomori in contemporary Japan

    Sachiko Horiguchi

    Chapter 4. Anxious, stress, and yet satisfied? The puzzle of subjective well-being among young adults in Japan

    Carola Hommerich


    Chapter 5. Being happy as a woman: The promise of happiness for middle class housewives in Japan

    Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni

    Chapter 6. The well-being of single mothers in Japan

    James M. Raymo

    Chapter 7. Happiness at work? Marital happiness among Japanese housewives and employed wives

    Mary C. Brinton

    Chapter 8. The happiness of Japanese academics: Findings from job satisfaction surveys in 1992 and 2007

    Theresa Aichinger, Peter Fankhauser, and Roger Goodman

    Chapter 9. Dilemma of fatherhood: The meaning of work, family, and happiness for salaried male Japanese workers

    Futoshi Taga


    Chapter 10. Happiness pursued, abandoned, dreamed of, and stumbled upon: An analysis of twenty Japanese lives over twenty years

    Gordon Mathews

    Chapter 11. Senior volunteers and post-retirement well-being in Japan

    Satsuki Kawano

    Chapter 12. Well-being and decision-making towards the end of life: Living wills in Japan

    Celia Spoden

    Chapter 13. Fear of solitary death in Japan’s ageing society

    Tim Tiefenbach and Florian Kohlbacher


    Chapter 14.

    Reconsidering the four dimensions of happiness across the life course in Japan

    Wolfram Manzenreiter and Barbara Holthus


    Barbara Holthus is Assistant Professor at the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Vienna, Austria. Her most recent publications include Parental Well-Being in Japan (2015) and a co-edited volume on Happiness and the Good Life in Japan (Routledge 2017).

    Wolfram Manzenreiter is Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Vienna, Austria. His most recent publications include Sport and Body Politics in Japan (Routledge 2014) and the co-edited volume on Happiness and the Good Life in Japan (Routledge 2017).