5th Edition

Understanding Japanese Society

By Joy Hendry Copyright 2019
    334 Pages 68 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    334 Pages 68 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In this welcome brand new fifth edition of the bestselling textbook Understanding Japanese Society, Joy Hendry takes the reader into the heart of Japanese life.

    Providing a clear and accessible introduction to Japanese ways of thinking, which does not require any previous knowledge of the country, this book explores Japanese society through the worlds of home, work, play, religion and ritual, covering a full range of life experiences, from childhood to old age. It also examines the diversity of people living in Japan, the effects of a growing number of new immigrants, and role of the longest-standing Japanese prime-minister Shinzo Abe. Fully updated, revised and expanded, the fifth edition contains new material on:

    • the continued effects of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disasters of 2011
    • local examples of care for nature and the environment
    • new perspectives on the role of women
    • Japan’s place in the context of globalisation .

    Each chapter in this new edition also includes an exciting insert from scholars in the field, based on new and emerging research. This book will be invaluable to all students studying Japan. It will also enlighten those travellers and business people wishing to gain an understanding of  Japanese people.


    1. Sources of Japanese Identity 

    Clinton Godart: The Introduction of Modern Science and Technology

    2. The House and Family System 

    Ayumi Sasagawa: Views of Housewives in Contemporary Japan

    3. Socialisation and Classification 

    Emma E. Cook: Food Allergies, Illness and Personhood in Japan

    4. Community and Neighbourhood 

    Yukifumi Makita: Rebuilding Community Life in Rural Japan

    5. The Education System 

    Katsunobu Shimizu: Local government involvement with education

    6. Status, Hierarchy and Ethnic Diversity 

    Jamie Coates: New Chinese socialities in Japan

    7. Religious Influences 

    Sebastien Penmellen Boret: Buddhist lifelines during the aftermath of the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake

    8. Ritual and the Life Cycle 

    Andrea De Antoni: Coping with the Spirits of Unsettled Death

    9. Opportunities for Working Life 

    Swee-Lin Ho: Women with Professional Careers in Japan’s Male-Dominated Corporate World

    10. Arts, Entertainment and Leisure 

    Carmen Săpunaru Tămaș: A Puff of Fairy Dust: Drag Queens of the Osaka Stage

    11. Government and the Craft of Politics 

    John Breen: Contested Emperorship

    12. The Legal System and Social Control in a Global World

    Tom Gill: The Great Eastern Japan Disaster of 2011: How It Damaged Social Control and Social Trust


    Bruce White: The World in Japan


    Joy Hendry is Professor Emerita of Oxford Brookes University, UK, has held visiting associations with Tokyo, Dōshisha and Keio universities, carried out fieldwork over 40 years, and published many books and articles on the social anthropology of Japan. In 2017, she was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government.