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Paths to Asian Medical Knowledge$
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Charles Leslie and Allan Young

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780520073173

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520073173.001.0001

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The Fragile Japanese Family: Narratives about Individualism and the Postmodern State

The Fragile Japanese Family: Narratives about Individualism and the Postmodern State

Chapter:
(p.98) Five The Fragile Japanese Family: Narratives about Individualism and the Postmodern State
Source:
Paths to Asian Medical Knowledge
Author(s):

Charles Leslie

Allan Young

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520073173.003.0006

Although Japan has a long history and civilization of its own, it bears a particular blight that is associated with postwar civilization: the Westernized, high-tech culture, prosperity and material comfort, and urban nuclear family life and a loss of traditional values. This chapter discusses the remaking of a cultural identity in postwar Japan. The emphasis is on the concept of nuclear family, and most especially the pivotal figure in the family, the mother. A postulated relationship between the behavior of family members and their individual physical health is couched in explicitly moralistic terms and forms one part of the cultural debate about identity. It includes a stereotype in which women are said to be vulnerable to experiencing one of several syndromes and neuroses especially associated with their gender. This chapter also discusses the attempt to medicalize menopause and its lack of success to date.

Keywords:   postwar, civilization, nuclear family, cultural identity, menopause

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