A Spirit of Adventure in Retirement: Japanese Baby Boomers and the Ethos of Interdependence

Katrina Louise Moore
2017 Anthropology & Aging  
Self-reliance has arisen as a key ethic in relation to older persons in Japan. One part of a larger social trend affecting mature societies around the world is the rising emphasis on elders overcoming dependence in favor of a new ethic of independence. This analysis of older persons in Japan opens a window into the gender dynamics of older-person households, and into the discourses about the lack of an independent autonomous identity in old age aside from that in the workplace. Drawing on
more » ... ork with retirees, I illuminate retired couples' experiences of and attitudes about retirement, considering the interpersonal dimensions of interdependence and the ways the ethos of self-reliance influences retirees' lives. In particular, I analyse how the men seek to embody interdependence in relationships with their wives. How do they adjust in relation to their wives' expectations, and how do they—and their identities—change after they leave the workforce? Central to this process is an expansion in men's acts of thoughtfulness in relation to their wives. his study analyzes the social context in China where the elderly participate in collective physical training, a cultural activity specific to the country. For this study, senior citizens aged 60 or above who participated in collective physical training in a park in Beijing were observed for five months. Research results found that collective physical training enables formation of social networks providing mutual caring and support. On the other hand, the participants conform to the self-disciplined modern discourse to survive in the post-Mao society. They do collective physical training due to their social conditions, such as the poorly established welfare system for the aged, severance pay that is too low to own preferences, the context of Chinese society, including hidden government intentions, leads the elderly to participate in training activities.
doi:10.5195/aa.2017.159 fatcat:uplvdm5ogrc7hkaeay5pbhlecu