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Changes in family structure

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Chapter Summary

In Japan, the development of the family since the Meiji period (1868-1912) can be divided into three stages. In the first stage, the public and private spheres were not yet separate. Stage two is the closed-off "modern family," centred on the emotional relationships and gendered roles of its members. The third stage family is contemporary and progressive; its diversification and individualization will likely increase in the future. This chapter examines transitions in the family from a sociological perspective, particularly with regard to changes in women's labour. The vast majority of families in Japan before WW II were engaged in farming. In farming households, the father/head of household and sons of working age would do farm work, while the women, in addition to farm work, would engage in side businesses such as weaving, sericulture, and peddling wares.

Keywords: diversification; family structure; farming households; Japanese population; Meiji period



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