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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien



University of Vienna
Department of East Asian Studies / Japanese Studies
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2
Door 2.4; seminar room JAPANOLOGIE 1 (ground floor)



International Conference

Deciphering the Social DNA of Happiness: Life Course Perspectives from Japan

2014年4月24日 - 2014年4月26日

In recent years, governments of several OECD countries including Japan have shown a heightened interest in gauging the happiness of their people. Previous research has shown that material and structural conditions as well as their subjective perception have an impact on the degree of happiness in and across populations. Many studies acknowledge cross-cultural variability, but the most prominent academic fields in happiness research, psychology and economics, are not fully capable of coming to terms with the dispositions and patterns of happiness in society. We propose that anthropology and sociology with their respective methodologies, both quantitative and qualitative, and heuristic assumptions are better equipped to explore the multidimensionality of happiness and well-being. For the purpose of deciphering ‘The Social DNA of Happiness in Japan’, well-known Japan specialists will look at happiness and well-being with an eye to the shaping impacts of social institutions and socio-cultural values. By covering specific social groups, speakers will demonstrate how life stages and life events have a distinctive impact on their states and expressions of well-being in contemporary Japan.

Visit the conference page at Dept. of East Asian Studies/Japanese Studies, University of Vienna:

Sponsored by:


1日目          2014年4月24日 (木)

Welcome, introduction and keynote speeches


Makoto TAKETOSHI, Japanese Ambassador to Austria
Matthias MEYER, Dean of Faculty, Vienna University

Barbara HOLTHUS and Wolfram MANZENREITER (University of Vienna, Austria)

DIJ research focus on happiness and unhappiness in Japan



What is a good society? A perspective from happiness research

Shigehiro OISHI (University of Virginia, USA)

Welcome reception

2日目          2014年4月25日 (金)

Agenda setting

Barbara HOLTHUS and Wolfram MANZENREITER (University of Vienna, Austria)

Section 1: Childhood/adolescence

Happiness in a Japanese day nursery?

Eyal BEN-ARI (Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee, Israel)

“It’s good to go to school”: First graders’ views about schooling and learning in Japan

Yoko YAMAMOTO (Brown University, USA)

Socio-physical space and well-being: The case of burakumin youth in contemporary Japan

Christopher BONDY (International Christian University, Japan)


Section 2: Adulthood: Marriage and family Part 1

Specialization and happiness in marriage: A U.S.-Japan comparison

Hiroshi ONO (Texas A&M University, USA)

“Being happy as a woman”: The meaning and implications of being happy among Japanese housewives in post-bubble Japan

Ofra GOLDSTEIN-GIDONI (Tel Aviv University, Israel)

Single motherhood, living arrangements, and well-being in Japan

James RAYMO (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)

Coffee break

Section 3: Adulthood: Marriage and family Part 2

Whose responsibility? Whose well-being? On pregnancy and prenatal care in Japan

Tsipy Ivry (University of Haifa, Israel)

Happiness in “endurance”: Impacts of internalized parenting norms

Yoshie MORIKI (International Christian University, Japan)

Happiness in balance: Married working women and household gender roles in Japan

Mary BRINTON (Harvard University, USA)


3日目          2014年4月26日 (土)

Section 4: Adulthood: Men at work - and at home

Happy and unhappy professors in contemporary Japan

Roger GOODMAN (University of Oxford, UK)

How happy are salarymen: Continuity and change in the meaning of well-being for Japanese middle-class men

Futoshi TAGA (Kansai University, Japan)

Coffee break

Section 5: Adulthood: Community building, part 1

No man is an island: Social well-being as a prerequisite for subjective well-being in Japan?



Political participation: Entering a new world or plunging into disappointment? A case study of Yamamoto Tarō and “Greens Japan” activists




Section 7: Old age / end of life

Embracing decline: Understanding the impacts of ageing and depopulation on well-being in rural Japan

Peter MATANLE (Sheffield University, UK)

Loneliness among older people in Japan: A perspective from happiness economics



Conceptions of a meaningful life and “good” death in end of life decision-making

Celia SPODEN (Heinrich-Heine University Duesseldorf, Germany)

Coffee break


Concluding discussion

Gordon MATHEWS (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China)

Discussion on book project and closing remarks

Barbara HOLTHUS and Wolfram MANZENREITER (University of Vienna, Austria)

Section 6: Adulthood: Community building, part 2

Experiences, narratives and transformations of disaster volunteers in Tohoku: Purpose in life, self-complacency, insecurity

Susanne KLIEN (Hokkaido University, Japan)

Japanese religions and human happiness: Exploring an ambivalent relationship

Mark MULLINS (University of Auckland, New Zealand)

Coffee break


Eyal Ben-Ari, PhD, Prof. emeritus
Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Christopher Bondy, PhD, Associate Professor
Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

Mary Brinton, PhD, Full Professor
Dept. of Sociology, Harvard University, Boston, USA

Florian Coulmas, Prof. Dr.
Deutsches Institut fur Japanstudien, Tokyo, Japan

Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni, PhD, Chair
Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University, Israel

Roger Goodman, PhD, Professor
Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford, UK

Phoebe Holdgrun, Dr.
Deutsches Institut fur Japanstudien, Tokyo, Japan

Barbara Holthus, Dr. Dr.
Deutsches Institut fur Japanstudien, Tokyo, Japan

Carola Hommerich, Dr.
Deutsches Institut fur Japanstudien, Tokyo, Japan

Tsipy Ivry, PhD, Professor
Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Haifa, Israel

Susanne Klien, Dr.
Deutsches Institut fur Japanstudien, Tokyo, Japan

Wolfram Manzenreiter, Prof. Dr.
Department of East Asian Studies, University of Vienna, Austria

Peter Matanle, PhD, Professor
Sheffield University, School of East Asian Studies, UK

Gordon Mathews, PhD, Professor
Dept. of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hongkong, China

Yoshie Moriki, PhD, Associate Professor
Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology, International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan

Mark Mullins, PhD, Professor
Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Shigehiro Oishi, PhD, Professor
Dept. of Psychology, University of Virginia, USA

Hiroshi Ono, PhD, Professor
Dept. of Sociology, Texas A&M University, USA

James Raymo, PhD, Professor
Dept. of Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

Celia Spoden, MA
Modern Japan Institute, Heinrich-Heine University, Duesseldorf, Germany

Futoshi Taga, PhD, Professor
Dept. of Education and Culture, Kansai University, Osaka, Japan

Tim Tiefenbach, Dr.
Deutsches Institut fur Japanstudien, Tokyo, Japan

Yoko Yamamoto, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor
Brown University, Rhode Island, USA