Children, Children, Children!

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In my Japanese Cultural and Anthropology classes I am starting to learn about Japanese Families and its crisis. What I mean by crisis is the fact that less women are marrying and less children are being born. My books are telling me that there is now something around a 1.3 average of children being born from each nuclear family in Japan. In addition, with more professional women, there is a rise of single adults who are either waiting to get married or are not planning on getting married entirely. You need something over 2 children per family to keep a population consistent.

However living in Toyosu this is sometimes hard to comprehend. My mansion (apartment) is mostly young families with young kids. I feel like most families here have two kids, there are little ones and babies everywhere when you enter at the end of the day! Kids with their mothers, kids coming home from school, kids with their grand parents. I feel that every adult is accompanied by a child.

In addition, on the weekends La La Port is full of kids running around outside. On good weather days the boardwalk and open outdoor area is swarming with little kids and their parents. I have never seen so many toddlers in one location in my entire life! There is this little train that toddlers can ride around the dock area. It is adorable! On Toyosu as a whole, there has to be around four playgrounds (small) outside that I have found while running. Toyosu is not a large area. These are usually occupied too. Also La La Port itself has, I think two children play centers, and so does my apartment.

I know I live in a up-and-coming area, where there are lots of families ,and I can’t think of all of Japan to be like Toyosu. I understand this thoroughly; Toyosu is nothing like where Temple Japan Campus is. However, while reading my homework today I had  toddlers, wearing shoes that are like squeaky toys, squeak past me. In class we are also learning how there is an ideal thought of what it means to be Japanese and have a family, and then there is the reality. I guess I live in an area where the ideal is lived out a little more then most.

What I have seen, which is described in my books is the amount of older people working in Japan. Because Japan increased its population so quickly after the war, and these people are now aging, many places have risen the age for retirement. Also to help the elderly have some money and occupation, local government-sponsored work programs have been made, such as manual jobs, park maintenance, light manufacturing jobs. I commonly see elderly around construction areas directing traffic on the sidewalks.

My host mother also helps elderly at their homes. Which I don’t know if this is common, but it is something needed with the amount of elderly in the population who need to be taken care of. On top of all of this, Japanese have some of the longest lifespans in the world.

I find this all very interesting. I like passing by the old grandpas though on the sidewalks, they are some of the few people willing to talk to me on the streets. Even if it is “doozo” it is nice to hear.

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One response »

  1. From what I understand, less women want to get married because unfortunately, Japanese women are still in the position of having to choose between family or career. They can’t have both like they can in America, though more unorthodox families, especially if they’re low income, this happens anyway, but it’s rare. In a lot of ways, Japan remains pretty misogynistic and patriarchal, but they are getting better at least in that regard, slowly.

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