Population Decline and Ageing in Japan - The Social Consequences

By Florian Coulmas

© 2009 – Routledge

176 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415480116
pub: 2008-08-31
US Dollars$54.95
Hardback: 9780415401258
pub: 2007-05-08
US Dollars$158.00

About the Book

This book presents a comprehensive analysis of one of the most pressing challenges facing Japan today: population decline and ageing.

It argues that social ageing is a phenomenon that follows in the wake of industrialization, urbanization and social modernization, bringing about changes in values, institutions, social structures, economic activity, technology and culture, and posing many challenges for the countries affected. Focusing on the experience of Japan, the author explores:

  • how Japan has recognized the emerging problems relatively early because during the past half century population ageing has been more rapid in Japan than in any other country
  • how all of Japanese society is affected by social ageing, not just certain substructures and institutions, and explains its complex causes, describes the resulting challenges and analyses the solutions under consideration to deal with it
  • the nature of Japan’s population dynamics since 1920, and argues that Japan is rapidly moving in the direction of a ‘hyperaged society’ in which those sixty-five or older account for twenty-five per cent of the total population
  • the implications for family structures and other social networks, gender roles and employment patterns, health care and welfare provision, pension systems, immigration policy, consumer and voting behaviour and the cultural reactions and ramifications of social ageing.


'a thoughtful and stimulating analysis of Japan's hyper-aging society; a serious book about a critically important subject.' - Jeff Kingston, The Japan Times

Table of Contents

1. Facts and Discourses 2. The Problem of Generations and the Structure of Society 3. Social Networks 4. The Lonely Child 5. Women and Men at Work 6. The Socialisation of Care 7. 'Mature' Customers 8. Longevity Risk and Pension Funds 9. Government of the Elderly, by the Elderly and for the Elderly 10. Limits to Ageing? 11. Foreigners Welcome? 12. Population Ageing and Social Change

About the Author

Florian Coulmas is Director of the German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tokyo, Japan. He also holds the chair of Japanese studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen. He has published widely on Japanese society and culture, and his publications, in English, German and Japanese, include several monographs, two textbooks, dictionaries and an encyclopaedia.

About the Series

Routledge Contemporary Japan Series

The aim of this series is to publish original, high-quality work by both new and established scholars on all aspects of contemporary Japan.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gerontology