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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
The Intimate in and beyond Pandemic Times: Family, Personal Relationships and Singlehood
© Nora Kottmann


DIJ Tokyo (access)


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    The Intimate in and beyond Pandemic Times: Family, Personal Relationships and Singlehood

    November 5, 2022

    Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that the virus and its political, economic and public health implications have led to profound, if uneven, effects on human society.

    The restrictions imposed by political and public health responses to COVID have curbed social interactions, limited physical movement and challenged the functions and experiences of the home as a space of comfort and site of intimacy. Social distancing, isolation requirements like the “3C’s” (the avoidance of closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings) and their attendant constraints have produced differing challenges (and possibly opportunities) within the intimate, among them childcare, work-life balance, romantic relationship formation, economic conditions, marital, romantic and solidary relationship quality. Further, these challenges have uneven impacts by gender, class, occupation (remote vs. non-remote workers), sexual orientation, marital and partnership status, ethnicity, migrant status, social networks and living arrangements.

    In this workshop we present several papers that explore the effects of the pandemic on singles in Japan, based on the results of a large-scale survey conducted in January 2021. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data, these papers will explore the effects of the pandemic on a range of personal relationships and relational practices among the unmarried. Three papers will introduce the survey and its methodological details, discuss an increase in desire for marriage under the pandemic and analyze single life, (solo-)sociality and the impacts of the pandemic.

    Alongside these papers, several experts present multi-perspective and multi-method work (completed or in-progress research) and discuss ongoing, unanticipated and multi-dimensional effects of the pandemic and its global and local influences on the intimate, on (solo)sociality and its socio-spatial implications. In particular, these papers will address changes in “personal space” in the city since the start of the pandemic, results from an online survey on the effects of the stay-at-home policies, findings from cognitive interviews on intimate relationships and singlehood beyond cisgender heterosexual individuals as well as quantitative analysis of relationships of same-sex couples.

    Presentations and discussion will be either in Japanese or English. 

    Speakers (in alphabetical order):

    DALES Laura (University of Western Australia, Perth)

    HIRAMORI Daiki (Hosei University, Tokyo)

    KAMANO Saori (National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, Tokyo)

    KOTTMANN Nora (German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tokyo)

    NANGO Yoshikazu (Meiji University, Tokyo)

    SUZUKI Nanami (Ochanomizu University, Tokyo)

    WANG Zixuan (Kyoto University, Kyoto)

    YOSHIDA Akiko (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Wisconsin)

    Details (schedule, registration et al.) will be provided soon.