The individualization of relationships in Japan

Mitsunori Ishida*, Midori Ito, Munenori Suzuki, Norihiro Nihei, Masao Maruyama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The individualization of relationships refers to the situation in which a leeway is allowed for the intervention of individuals making choices on their own in developing and maintaining relationships. Two types of discourses on relationships were generated: one is the "liberation" discourse that ties the individualization of relationships to individual self-realization and the demonstration of individuality, and the other is the "deprivation" discourse that ties the individualization of relationships to the weakened state of existing relationships. In this paper, we investigate which the aspects - "liberation" or "deprivation" - appear in family, company and local communities. We found that even though the Japanese are positive about living an individual life free from family and corporate relationships in the context of "liberation", in order to deal with the risks of "deprivation", they easily resort to family members and corporate community that formerly controlled or bound them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-235
Number of pages19
JournalSoziale Welt
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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