Edited Volumes

Intimate Japan cover
Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict. Co-edited with Emma Cook. University of Hawai'i Press. 2019.

How do couples build intimacy in an era that valorizes independence and self-responsibility? How can a man be a good husband when full-time jobs are scarce? How can unmarried women find fulfillment and recognition outside of normative relationships? How can a person express their sexuality when there is no terminology that feels right? In contemporary Japan, broad social transformations are reflected and refracted in changing intimate relationships. As the Japanese population ages, the low birth rate shrinks the population, and decades of recession radically restructure labor markets, Japanese intimate relationships, norms, and ideals are concurrently shifting.

This volume explores a broad range of intimate practices in Japan in the first decades of the 2000s to trace how social change is becoming manifest through deeply personal choices. From young people making decisions about birth control to spouses struggling to connect with each other, parents worrying about stigma faced by their adopted children, and queer people creating new terms to express their identifications, Japanese intimacies are commanding a surprising amount of attention, both within and beyond Japan. With ethnographic analysis focused on how intimacy is imagined, enacted, and discussed, the volume's chapters offer rich and complex portraits of how people balance personal desires with feasible possibilities and shifting social norms.

Intimate Japan will appeal to scholars and students in anthropology and Japanese or Asian studies, particularly those focusing on gender, kinship, sexuality, and labor policy. The book will also be of interest to researchers across social science subject areas, including sociology, political science, and psychology. With support from Knowledge Unlatched, the full book is available through Open Access.

Reviewed in: Asian Anthropology (2019), H-Japan (2020), The Journal of Japanese Studies (2020), Social Science Japan Journal (2020), and Pacific Affairs (2021).

Home and Family cover copy
Home and Family in Japan: Continuity and Transformation. Co-edited with Richard Ronald. Routledge Press. 2010.

In the Japanese language the word ‘ie’ denotes both the materiality of homes and family relations within. The traditional family and family house - often portrayed in ideal terms as key foundations of Japanese culture and society - have been subject to significant changes in recent years. This book comprehensively addresses various aspects of family life and dwelling spaces, exploring how homes, household patterns and kin relations are reacting to contemporary social, economic and urban transformations, and the degree to which traditional patterns of both houses and households are changing. The book contextualizes the shift from the hegemonic post-war image of standard family life, to the nuclear family and to a situation now where Japanese homes are more likely to include unmarried singles; childless couples; divorcees; unmarried adult children and elderly relatives either living alone or in nursing homes. It discusses how these new patterns are both reinforcing and challenging typical understandings of Japanese family life.

Reviewed in: Comparative Sociology (2012), Pacific Affairs (2013), The Journal of Japanese Studies (2014), and Journal of International and Global Studies (2014).

Articles, Chapters, and Comments
2022. “Japanese Family Law Must Change.” East Asia Forum.

2021. “Children and Law in the Shadows: Responses to Parental Abduction in Japan.” Part of the special issue "Productive Encounters: Kinship, Gender, and Family Laws in East Asia. positions: asia critique. 29(3): 523-549.

2020. “Talking Through Difficult Topics.” In Studying Japan: Research Designs, Fieldwork and Methods, edited by Nora Kottmann and Cornelia Reiher. Baden-Baden: Nomos Press, 204-210.

2019. “Intimacy In and Beyond the Family.” In The Routledge Companion to Gender and Japanese Culture, edited by Mark Pendleton, Jennifer Coates and Lucy Fraser. London: Routledge Press, 115-124.

2019. “Introduction: The Stakes of Intimacy in Contemporary Japan.” In Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict, edited by Allison Alexy and Emma E. Cook. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

2019. “What Can Be Said? Communicating Intimacy in Millennial Japan.” In Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict, edited by Allison Alexy and Emma E. Cook. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

2019. (with Emma E. Cook) “Reflections on Fieldwork: Exploring Intimacy.” In Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict, edited by Allison Alexy and Emma E. Cook. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

2017. “Family.” In The Routledge Handbook of Civil Society in Asia, edited by Akihiro Ogawa. London: Routledge Press.

2016. "Laboring Heroes, Security, and the Political Economy of Intimacy in Postwar Japan." In Beyond the Cubicle: Job Insecurity, Intimacy, and the Flexible Self. edited by Allison Pugh. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2011. “Intimate Dependence and Its Risks in Neoliberal Japan.” Anthropological Quarterly 84(4): 897-920. Part of a special issue devoted to “The Ethics of Disconnection in a Neoliberal Age” co-edited with Ilana Gershon.

2010. "The Door My Wife Closed: Houses, Families, and Divorce in Japan." In Home and Family in Japan: Continuity and Transformation. Richard Ronald and Allison Alexy, eds. London: Routledge Press. 236-253.

2010. "Introduction: Continuity and Change in Japanese Homes and Families." [co-written with Richard Ronald]. In Home and Family in Japan: Continuity and Transformation. Richard Ronald and Allison Alexy, eds. London: Routledge Press. 1-24.

2008. "Deferred Benefits, Romance, and the Specter of Later-life Divorce." Contemporary Japan, vol. 19: 169-188.

2022. Review of Gender and the Koseki in Contemporary Japan: Surname, Power, and Privilege by Linda White. 2018. Routledge. Social Science Japan Journal 25(2).

2021. Review of Invisibility by Design: Women and Labor in Japan’s Digital Economy by Gabriella Lukacs. 2020. Duke University Press. Journal of Asian Studies 80(3): 750-752.

2016 . Review of Configurations of Family in Contemporary Japan edited by Tomoko Aoyama, Laura Dales, and Romit Dasgupta. 2015. Routledge. Pacific Affairs 89(2): 435-437.

2014. Review of The Japanese Family in Transition: From the Professional Housewife Ideal to the Dilemmas of Choice by Suzanne Hall Vogel with Steven K. Vogel. 2013. Rowman and Littlefield. Social Science Japan Journal 17(2).

2014. Review of Precarious Japan by Anne Allison. 2013. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Anthropological Quarterly 87(2): 545-557.

2014. Review of Housewives of Japan: An Ethnography of Real Lives and Consumerized Domesticity by Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni. 2012. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. American Ethnologist 41(1): 198-199.

2013. Review of Fragile Kinships: Family Ideologies and Child Welfare in Japan. A dissertation by Kathryn Goldfarb. Dissertation Reviews. www.dissertationreviews.org

2012. Review of Lovesick Japan: Sex, Marriage, Romance, Law by Mark D. West. 2011. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 18(4): 914-915.

2011. Review of Manners and Mischief: Gender, Power, and Etiquette in Japan. Jan Bardsley and Laura Miller, eds. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Southeast Review of Asian Studies 33: 283-285.

2011. Review of Women and Family in Contemporary Japan by Susan Holloway. 2010. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Contemporary Sociology 40(3): 313-314.

2011. Review of Tough Choices: Bearing an Illegitimate Child in Japan by Ekaterina Hertog. 2010. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Contemporary Sociology 40(2): 188-189.

2010. Review of Embodying Culture: Pregnancy in Japan and Israel by Tsipy Ivry. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. 2010. Ethos 38(4).

2007. Review of The Too-Good Wife: Alcohol, Codependency, and the Politics of Nurturance in Postwar Japan by Amy Borovoy. 2007. Southeast Review of Asian Studies, vol. 29: 261-264.

2004. Review of Doing Fieldwork in Japan edited by Theodore Bestor, Patricia Steinhoff and Victoria Lyon Bestor. 2004. H-Net Online.