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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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Probabilities and Kōnenki

Probabilities and Kōnenki

(p.31) 2 Probabilities and Kōnenki
Encounters with Aging

Margaret Lock

University of California Press

The complexity of the narratives given by Japanese women only rarely results from minds unschooled in human biology. What they reveal, on the contrary, is women's unwillingness to reduce the meaning of the end of menstruation to endocrine changes alone. By far, the majority of Japanese women make it clear that for them kōnenki represents, above all, an inevitable part of the aging process. They focus on the signs of aging of which the end of menstruation is but one. kōnenki is an entirely natural event that may produce some temporary discomfort, but one that is of little concern to many women. Despite the negative myths about kōnenki, most women suffer no disabling symptoms and apparently feel no deep sense of loss at this time of life.

Keywords:   Japanese women, human biology, menstruation, aging, kōnenki

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