Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict
Quantity:
288pp. October 2018
Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict
Editor: Alexy, Allison; Cook, Emma E.;
How do couples build intimacy in an era that valorizes independence and self-responsibility? How can a man be a good husband when full-time jobs are scarce? How can unmarried women find fulfillment and recognition outside of normative relationships? How can a person express their sexuality when there is no terminology that feels right? In contemporary Japan, broad social transformations are reflected and refracted in changing intimate relationships. As the Japanese population ages, the low birth rate shrinks the population, and decades of recession radically restructure labor markets, Japanese intimate relationships, norms, and ideals are concurrently shifting.

This volume explores a broad range of intimate practices in Japan in the first decades of the 2000s to trace how social change is becoming manifest through deeply personal choices. From young people making decisions about birth control to spouses struggling to connect with each other, parents worrying about stigma faced by their adopted children, and queer people creating new terms to express their identifications, Japanese intimacies are commanding a surprising amount of attention, both within and beyond Japan. With ethnographic analysis focused on how intimacy is imagined, enacted, and discussed, the volume’s chapters offer rich and complex portraits of how people balance personal desires with feasible possibilities and shifting social norms.

Intimate Japan will appeal to scholars and students in anthropology and Japanese or Asian studies, particularly those focusing on gender, kinship, sexuality, and labor policy. The book will also be of interest to researchers across social science subject areas, including sociology, political science, and psychology.
Editor: Alexy, Allison; Cook, Emma E.;
Allison Alexy is assistant professor in the Department of Women’s Studies and the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan.

Emma E. Cook is associate professor in the Modern Japanese Studies Program at Hokkaido University.