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Encounters with AgingMythologies of Menopause in Japan and North America$
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Margaret Lock

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780520082212

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520082212.001.0001

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The Making of Menopause

The Making of Menopause

(p.303) 11 The Making of Menopause
Encounters with Aging

Margaret Lock

University of California Press

Although the subjective experience and interpretation of kōnenki vary among Japanese women, the term is a key concept in discussions of midlife in Japan and most probably, every adult has some acquaintance with it. But if talking about growing older is not universal, their reasons for doing so differ. This chapter asks why, if we view kōnenki as a product of Japanese history and culture, we should not look on menopause as a product of the Euro-American cultural tradition. It traces the invention of the menopausal woman in Europe and North America, her reduction to the menopause, and still more recent demotion to a deficiency disease and an endocrinopathy. These changes profoundly influence the way the medical profession and the public respond to female midlife.

Keywords:   female midlife, Japanese history, kōnenki, Europe, menopausal woman

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