In recent decades Japan has changed from a strongly growing, economically successful country regarded as prime example of social equality and inclusion to a country with a stagnating economy, a shrinking population and a very high proportion of elderly people. Within this, new forms of inequality are emerging and deepening, and a new model of Japan as “gap society” (kakusa shakai) has become common-sense. These new forms of inequality are complex, are caused in different ways by a variety of factors, and require deep-seated reforms in order to remedy them.
This book provides a comprehensive overview of inequality in contemporary Japan. It examines inequality in labour and employment, in welfare and family, in education and social mobility, in the urban-rural divide, and concerning immigration, ethnic minorities and gender. The book also considers the widespread anxiety effect of the fear of inequality; and discusses how far these developments in Japan represent a new form of social problem for the wider world.
Edited by David Chiavacci and Carola Hommerich
Published by Routledge
David Chiavacci is Mercator Professor in Social Science of Japan as well as director of the University Priority Research Program “Asia and Europe” at the University of Zurich. His research covers economic sociology, political sociology and sociology of knowledge of contemporary Japan. In recent years, Japan’s new immigration since the late 1980s and questions of social change in current Japan have been his main research interests. He is known for his publications on gap society as well as on the new immigration to Japan and its consequences.
Takehiko Kariya is Professor of Sociology of Japanese Society at the Department of Sociology and the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford. His research interests cover the sociology of education, social stratification and social mobility, social changes of Post-war Japan as well as social and educational policies. He is one of the leading authorities in research on inequality in education in Japan and has published extensively on the topic as well as on his other research interests both in Japanese and English.
Peter Matanle is Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies and Director of Research and Innovation at the School of East Asian Studies at The University of Sheffield. His research focuses on the social and cultural geography of Japan and he has published widely on the theory and practice of lifetime employment in large organizations, representations of gender in the workplace in Japanese popular culture, and depopulation and rural change in the Asia-Pacific region. His current research is on the relationship between depopulation and resource consumption in post-developmental economies, including Japan, China and New Zealand.
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