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The Japanese Family Today

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Chapter Summary

In recent years, the intimate details of family relationships have become the subject of widespread reporting and public discussion. Divorce in Japan is increasing at an unprecedented rate, and has been on the rise since the mid-1990s. The reality of Japanese family life is, probably like that of any highly-industrialized society, a strange and curious mixture of basic, universal human needs, its own pattern of modernization and social transformations, and something unique based on its history and culture. This chapter looks at the background to Japanese family development. At the time of the Meiji Restoration, Japan once more became a tightly united nation devoted to the goal of modernization and militarization. Hayao Kawai says that the most fundamental of all Japanese familial relationships is based not on the patriarchal Confucian tradition, but a matriarchal tradition that is more deeply rooted in Japanese culture.

Keywords: Confucian tradition; divorce; Hayao Kawai; Japanese family; Meiji Restoration; militarization; modernization; social transformations



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