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Shrinking of the Japanese Uniqueness: A Quantitative Analysis of Life Course Changes

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Chapter Summary

Discussions on Japanese familialism in general require a detailed examination of the history and tradition of families in Japanese society based on studies focusing on international comparisons. This chapter focuses on the characteristics of Japan that became clear between the 1970s and 1990s by comparisons with European countries and the United States. The M-shaped employment pattern for Japanese women, for example, became obvious because it maintained its form while other countries were experiencing variations in their employment patterns. A similar tendency is also seen for the employment of the elderly. Japanese familialism discussed in the chapter refers to the system that supported the life course patterns of the Japanese between the 1970s and 1990s, reflected in various policies and public awareness. The term "postwar Japanese life course" refers to the life pattern that became distinct during this period against the background of this familialism.

Keywords: European countries; international comparisons; Japanese familialism; M-shaped employment pattern; postwar Japanese life course; United States



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