Elemental Families: <i>Starting with Children</i>

Merry Isaacs White

in Perfectly Japanese

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780520217546
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520936591 | DOI:
Elemental Families: Starting with Children

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This chapter discusses various elements regarding the role of children in starting a family. In Japan, having a child does not start a family: the family is all around, backward and forward, it is composed of grandparents, parents, siblings, and cousins. But there is no question that children are important in Japan, though they do not start a family. They continue it and help focus and shape relationships within the household. They also influence the virtues and values that shape a sense of family beyond its walls. Children are elemental to the family and crucial to the establishment of nation-as-family within official discourse. They are, above all, the most perfectly Japanese ingredients in the constructions of the family after the war. Not having a child then means not only a lack of cultural place, role, and task, it also means very serious personal experiential loss.

Keywords: children; family relationships; Japan; family composition; virtues

Chapter.  9868 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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