Post-war Japan was often held up as the model example of the first mature industrial societies outside the Western economy, and the first examples of "middle-mass" society. Today, and since the bursting of the economic bubble in the 1990’s, the promises of Japan, Inc., seem far away.
Social Class in Contemporary Japan is the first single volume that traces the dynamics of social structure, institutional socialization and class culture through this turbulent period, all the way into the contemporary neoliberal moment. In an innovative multi-disciplinary approach that include top scholars working on quantitative class structure, policy development, and ethnographic analysis, this volume highlights the centrality of class formation to our understanding of the many levels of Japanese society. The chapters each address a different aspect of class formation and transformation which stand on their own. Taken together, they document the advantages of putting Japan in the broad comparative framework of class analysis and the enduring importance of social class to the analysis of industrial and post-industrial societies.
Written by a team of contributors from Japan, the US and Europe this book will be invaluable to students and scholars of Japanese society and culture, as well as those interested in cultural anthropology and social class alike.
1. Social Class Analysis as a Research Program Hiroshi Ishida and David H. Slater Part I: Class Structure 2. Does Class Matter in Japan? Demographics of Class Structure and Class Mobility from a Comparative Perspective Hiroshi Ishida 3. Marriage as an Association of Social Classes in a Low Fertility Rate Society: Towards a New Theory of Social Stratification Sawako Shirahase Part II: Class Sorting 4. From Credential Society to "Learning Capital" Society: A Rearticulation of Class Formation in Japanese Education and Society Takehiko Kariya 5. Social Class and Economic Life Chances in Post-Industrial Japan: The "Lost Generation" Mary C. Brinton Part III: Class Socialization 6. The "New Working Class" of Urban Japan: Socialization and Contradiction from Middle School to the Labor Market David H. Slater 7. What Color is Your Parachute? The Post-Pedigree Society Amy Borovoy Part IV: Class Strategies 8. Motherhood and Class: Gender, Class, and Reproductive Practices among Japanese Single Mothers Aya Ezawa 9. How Ethnic Minorities Experience Social Mobility in Japan: An Ethnographic Study of Peruvian Migrants Ayumi Takenaka