- Japan's urban singles: Negotiating alternatives to family households and standard housing pathways
- Urban Geography
- Volume | Issue number
- 39 | 7
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In comparison to other advanced economies, the rise of people living alone in Japan has been late and rapid, with singletons now accounting for almost half of all households in major cities. The normative and structural frameworks surrounding standard family-household formation, however, remain formidable, reducing life-course opportunities for non-family formers. This paper considers the household and housing pathways being negotiated by younger-adults living independently. In addition to various secondary data sources, we draw on qualitative interviews with 35 individuals from 28 Tokyo households in addressing manifestations of, and resistance to, atomisation and individualisation in the Japanese context. Our analysis focuses on meanings and practices of homemaking among renters and buyers in the growing sector of single-person dwellings, as well as the recent emergence of commercial shared housing . This analysis provides a contrast to discourses surrounding the “singles boom” and “the growing appeal of living alone” in Western cities.
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