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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Generational Conflict and Social Disparities behind Japan’s Low Fertility Society

 Until the end of the 1990s contemporary Japan’s social
scientific research held the view that Japan is a classless society
with narrow differences between rich and poor. The standardisation of a
middle class life-style in all strata of society was seen as the main
factor for the occurrence of a “general middle class
consciousness” (sōchūryū
) in post-war Japan. Recently, growing social
disparities have begun to show and triggered a discourse on Japan as kakusa shakai
(society of widening gaps). The project deals with the question whether
demographic change itself had an influence on the break-up of the
middle class or if the new forms of inequality and downward mobility
did cause changes in behaviour related to marriage and giving birth.
What is most striking is the loss of social security and poor
occupational qualifications of young people in Japan. The research
project is mainly concerned with the changing social conditions of
Japan’s younger generation and intends to examine the
correlation between low fertility, the changes in family and
generational structure and the restructuring of the labour market.


Previous Staff

Annette Schad-Seifert
Social Sciences

Selected Publications

Working Papers (Book)

[Schad-Seifert, Annette] Coping with Low Fertility? Japan’s Government Measures for a Gender Equal Society . Working Papers | Reports. Tokyo: Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien.