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Nature's EmbraceJapan's Aging Urbanites and New Death Rites$
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Satsuki Kawano

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824833725

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824833725.001.0001

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date: 20 November 2017

The Actors

The Actors

Chapter:
(p.25) Chapter One The Actors
Source:
Nature's Embrace
Author(s):

Satsuki Kawano

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824833725.003.0002

In postwar Japan, the generational contract within a stem-family framework socially and conventionally allocated the care of the elderly and the family dead to their descendants, as a moral obligation. The care given to the elderly in the generational contract was not based upon altruism; younger generations accumulated credit by participating in this system of elder care so that they could eventually depend on others for care when they grew old. Social actors, particularly siblings, have unequal access to available lifestyle options, for example, taking certain jobs or marrying certain partners. These lifestyle choices, in turn, shape the allocation of care rights and resources in the next generation. Similarly, ash scattering constitutes a lifestyle option that shapes the actors' generational relations in their late adulthood and after death. It is thus important to review the ways in which the generational contract filters the available options and shapes generational relations. This chapter explores actors' changing access to lifestyle options in a world in which the role that age plays in structuring their options is also shifting.

Keywords:   ash scattering, Japanese death rights, mortuary strategy, lifestyle options, age, stem-family framework, social actors, generational contract, generational relations

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