THE CHANGING JAPANESE FAMILY, edited by Marcus Rebick and Ayumi Takenaka. Routledge, 2009, 224 pp., £20 (paperback)

The notion of family in Japan conjures up images of stability that are increasingly out of step with emerging realities. Certainly, compared to most other advanced industrialized nations, Japan’s families are not in crisis. For Japanese, however — and this collection of essays — the point of reference is not how much more dire the situation is overseas, but how much better it seemed to have been in Japan until recent years, when the media began reporting extensively about various family-related problems that were previously mostly ignored. Stable families and jobs have been the pillars of the post-World War II system, but both are now less secure, carrying significant ramifications for social policy.

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