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Monday and Wednesday, 2:30-4:00pm
Haven Hall 7603

Instructor: Allison Alexy
aalexy [at]
Office hours: Tuesdays, 10 am to 2pm, and by appointment. Please sign up via Google Calendar.

What is the importance of family in contemporary Japan? This course begins to answer this central question by exploring both families as lived experience and Family as a powerful symbol for national unity. Focusing on the ways in which families have been imagined, legislated, lived, and refused, we will examine legal structures and social norms that shape these very personal groups. Including social scientific theory about kinship, the course traces the centrality of family in contemporary life while analyzing debates about family change, social conflict, and personal preferences. Topics include the household registry system, parent-child relationships, family-owned businesses, queer families, divorce, and domestic violence. Course materials include readings and required films, two short papers, and a final paper. The course materials and assignments were designed to fulfill the Upper-Level Writing Requirement (ULWR), and we will have weekly writing workshops. These details are visible in the syllabus.

The images on these pages come from Japanese films and television shows centered on family life. Above is Tokyo Story (Tokyo monogatari).