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Stigma and Childlessness in Historical and Contemporary Japan

Voluntary and Involuntary Childlessness

ISBN: 978-1-78754-362-1, eISBN: 978-1-78754-361-4

Publication date: 23 August 2018


This chapter provides concise accounts of the social meanings of marriage and fertility from the Tokugawa period through the Meiji period and continues with analysis of pressures faced by contemporary Japanese women who are childless. Also highlighted are the particular socio-demographic contexts which have brought involuntary childlessness, too, into the realms of public discussion and expected action on the part of the government. Through its account of the Japanese context, this chapter emphasises the larger theoretical, sociological argument that the historically placed social construction of childlessness – and thus, of the experiences and identities of childless women – always occurs through particular intersections of cultural, political-economic and demographic conditions.



Tanaka, K. and Lowry, D. (2018), "Stigma and Childlessness in Historical and Contemporary Japan", Sappleton, N. (Ed.) Voluntary and Involuntary Childlessness (Emerald Studies in Reproduction, Culture and Society), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 337-353.



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Copyright © 2018 Natalie Sappleton