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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Housing and living arrangements in Japan's ageing society

 June 2007 - March 2013

Housing is an essential component of everybody's life. How housing is organized and designed, however, is closely tied to the given circumstances of a society, its culture and history. Therefore, living arrangements are important manifestations of a society, its structure and values. In recent years a fundamental change has occurred with regard to household forms and numbers of aged persons in Japan, with elderly-only households strongly increasing. Furthermore, new housing types have emerged that extend the choice of housing considerably beyond conventional housing and institutional housing (nursing homes). These changes are not only responses to the growing number of elderly people due to the demographic development, but also indicate that the role and perception of Japan’s elderly have been in transition.

Although not large in numbers yet, alternative forms of housing and living, originating in most cases from the initiative of citizens and non-profit organizations, try to accommodate the desire for individual living and to provide an infrastructure of communal living or mutual help. Some of their features have even been incorporated into public house building and institutional forms of housing.

This research project explores the social changes underlying recent developments in the field of elderly housing on the basis of present housing and living situations. Special attention is focused on alternative forms of housing and living. One of the approaches used is qualitative interviews with residents to explore their housing histories.

Recent Publications

Godzik, Maren
Life Courses, Housing and Elderly Women in Japan: Why do They Choose Communal Living?
In: Iwata-Weickgenannt, Kristina : Beyond a Standardized Life Course Shinyōsha. pp. 302-332.
Godzik, Maren
Older residents in communal forms of living: What do their biographies reveal about their housing decisions?
In: Meiji University, School of Information and Communication, Gender Center : Nichidoku kokusai shinpojium: Raifu kôsu sentaku no rinkaiten: Ikikata wa doko made jiyû ni eraberu no ka? [Internationale Konferenz: Life Courses in Flux: New Opportunities and New Constraints] Meiji University.
Godzik, Maren
New Housing Options for the Elderly in Japan: The Example of Tokyo’s Edogawa Ward
In: Lützeler, Ralph : Imploding Populations in Japan and Germany Brill. pp. 309-322.
Godzik, Maren
Elderly Housing in Contemporary Japan: Exploring Alternative Forms of Living
In: Schad-Seifert, Annette; Shimada, Shingo : Demographic Change in Japan and the EU: Comparative Perspectives Düsseldorf University Press. pp. 37–60.
Godzik, Maren
Alternative housing for the elderly in Japan – attitudes of residents towards their housing choice
In: Ye, J.; Chiu, R. L.H. : Proceedings of 2010 International Conference of Asia Pacific Network for Housing research (APNHR). Housing Affordability, Sustainability and Liability China Architecture & Building Press. pp. 233–241.
Godzik, Maren
Choosing new places to live: Alternative housing solutions for the elderly in Japan
In: Randolph, B.; Burke, T.; Hulse, K.; Milligan, V. : Refereed papers presented at the 4th Australasian Housing Researchers Conference, Sydney, 5th - 7th August 2009
Godzik, Maren
Ruheständler als Lebenselixier? Ruhestandswanderung und lokale Neubelebungsstrategien am Beispiel von Atami und Ishigaki
In: Elis, Volker : Japanstudien 20 iudicium Verlag. pp. 129-162.
Godzik, Maren
<i>Hausaufgaben</i>: Über die Diskussion zu Kinderzimmern in Japan seit der Meiji-Zeit
In: Legeland, Marie-Luise, Manthey; Barbara, Ölschleger, Hans Dieter, Distelrath, Günther : Von Bauern, Beamten und Banditen: Beiträge zur historischen Japanforschung (On peasants, bureaucrats and bandits. Contributions to historical research on Japan) Bier'sche Verlagsanstalt. pp. 159–180.


October 22, 2010
Symposia and Conferences
Life Courses in Flux

October 16, 2008
Housing the Elderly in Japan


Maren Godzik Maren Godzik (until March 2013)
Japanology, Sociology