Chapter

The Fragile Japanese Family: Narratives about Individualism and the Postmodern State

Charles Leslie and Allan Young

in Paths to Asian Medical Knowledge

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 1992 | ISBN: 9780520073173
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520910935 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520073173.003.0006
The Fragile Japanese Family: Narratives about Individualism and the Postmodern State

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Although Japan has a long history and civilization of its own, it bears a particular blight that is associated with postwar civilization: the Westernized, high-tech culture, prosperity and material comfort, and urban nuclear family life and a loss of traditional values. This chapter discusses the remaking of a cultural identity in postwar Japan. The emphasis is on the concept of nuclear family, and most especially the pivotal figure in the family, the mother. A postulated relationship between the behavior of family members and their individual physical health is couched in explicitly moralistic terms and forms one part of the cultural debate about identity. It includes a stereotype in which women are said to be vulnerable to experiencing one of several syndromes and neuroses especially associated with their gender. This chapter also discusses the attempt to medicalize menopause and its lack of success to date.

Keywords: postwar; civilization; nuclear family; cultural identity; menopause

Chapter.  11964 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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