The Age of Decline? Anxieties about Ageing in Japan
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
In the context of unprecedented life expectancy, the social position of the Japanese elderly is changing. Anxieties related to ageing are widely experienced by people of all ages and on a number of levels, including nationwide concerns over the ‘ageing population’ and its economic consequences; the ageing of local communities; on an interpersonal level, as older relatives may require care and support; and, finally, in relation to one's own ageing. These anxieties are examined based on ethnographic research in the city of Osaka. The concept of ikigai, often equated with purpose in life but closely associated with the elderly in public discourse, is used to illustrate how ageing implicates a number of apparently unconnected issues. It is argued that anxieties about ageing may ultimately achieve such prominence because they give focus to a range of fundamental human concerns with meaning, death, freedom, and isolation.
This work was supported by The Japan Foundation, The Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis (Routledge) via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 81 (2), pp. 214 - 237