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Family Change in an Aging Society with Low Fertility

Micro Data Approach
TANAKA Sigeto <http://www.sal.tohoku.ac.jp/~tsigeto/qfam/>
(Global COE Program 2008-2012)

Project Outline

A research project for the Global COE Program “Gender Equality and Multicultural Conviviality in the Age of Globalization” (2008-2012) by Graduate School of Law, Tohoku University.

This project aims to contribute to the planning and evaluation of policies by interpreting family changes in current Japanese society through a scientific approach with quantitative analysis based on micro data. In contemporary society, while the family is the explicit target of some policies, it gives implicit conditions for policies in various fields where systems are designed based on the unit of household. However, quantitative research on family has centered on grasping the reality of family based on sociological theories without consideration for law and policy. This project takes an interdisciplinary approach to the policy issues regarding research topics of this GCOE program: namely, gender equality, the aging society with low fertility, and multicultural conviviality. We will conduct our research through close cooperation between researchers specializing in law/social policy and those specializing in sociology. Research topics may include: (1) dysfunction of systems assuming a standard lifestyle in spite of diversifying family lives; (2) inequality and family structure; (3) economic dependence and sexual division of labor; (4) the generation mechanism of domestic violence and abuse; (5) the kin support network; and (6) dynamism of normative consciousness regarding family patterns and functions.

The main source of micro data is the National Family Research of Japan (NFRJ), a series of large-scale surveys based on probability samples across Japan offered by Japan Society of Family Sociology. The surveys were conducted in fiscal 1998, fiscal 2001, fiscal 2003, and fiscal 2008. Data are available through SSJ Data Archive of the Institute of Social Science at the University of Tokyo.

Key Questions

  1. Is the modern family system adaptive to the age of diversity?
  2. How is the family related to inequality, subordination, poverty, and violence?



Preparation (literature review, theme setting, preliminary analysis using public-opened datasets, translations of materials, and so on)


Quantitative analysis by the initiative of each member. Meetings will be periodically held for discussion among members. Result will be published as presentation at conferences, Discussion Paper, E-print on repositories, and journal papers.


Publication of the research results as a book.

Meetings and Oral Presentations


Full-text PDF files are available from the following hyperlinks.


ed.= TANAKA Sigeto. 2013. A Quantitative Picture of Contemporary Japanese Families: Tradition and Modernity in the 21st Century. Tohoku University Press. {ISBN:978-4-86163-226-6}

See: http://www.sal.tohoku.ac.jp/~tsigeto/qfam/book/

Tohoku University / Faculty of Arts and Letters / Applied Japanese Linguistics / TANAKA Sigeto / GELAPOC

Copyright (c) 2008-2013 TANAKA Sigeto

Address: http://www.sal.tohoku.ac.jp/~tsigeto/office.html

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