Project “Family Change in an Aging Society with Low Fertility”

“Family Change in an Aging Society with Low Fertility: Micro Data Approach”

Key questions

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

Research Purpose and Approach

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 data of surveys conducted in fiscal 1998, fiscal 2001, and fiscal 2003 are available through SSJ Data Archive of the Institute of Social Science at the University of Tokyo. In fiscal 2008, a similar size survey “NFRJ08″ was conducted. These data allow us to investigate the family change in these ten years.

Research Activities

We collected literature regarding family changes, family policy, and quantitative analysis to elaborate details of the agenda for our research. In addition, we carried out preliminary analysis using existing data and, revolving around the state of responses to the National Family Research of Japan executed in 2008 (NFRJ08), reviewed technical problems of family surveys. Also, two other projects and we co-hosted an international seminar of “Gender Equality in Multicultural Societies: Gender, Diversity, and Conviviality in the Age of Globalization” in August 2009. In 2010, we will start a formal quantitative analysis as soon as the data of NFRJ08 become available. We will have meetings on a timely basis where we discuss on setting of agenda, analysis method, and political implications drawn from the results while decision on details of agenda will be left to each member of the project. We will not only present the results of analysis at symposium, on discussion paper and institutional repository but also promote active contribution to international academic journals.



Project Leader

TANAKA, Sigeto


Associate Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Letters, Tohoku University

Research Fields
  • Sociology
  • General life science
  • Statistical science





Name Affiliated Institution/Organization
KUBONO Emiko Tohoku University, School of Law (Professor)
IDA Mizue Kanto Gakuin University, College of Humanities (Associate Professor)
INABA Akihide Tokyo Metropolitan University, School of Humanities and Social Sciences (Professor)
KANAI Kaoru Saitama University, Faculty of Economics (Associate Professor)
KIM Jungnim Tokyo University of Social Welfare (Professor)
SAWAGUCHI Keiichi Taisho University, Faculty of Human Studies (Professor)
SHI Liping Meiji University, School of Information and Communication (Associate Professor)
SHINADA Tomomi Tokyo Institute of Technology, Center for the Study of World Civilizations (Fellow)
SHIMAZAKI Naoko Waseda University, Faculty of Letters, Arts and Science (Professor)
SHIMA Naoko Tokyo Metropolitan University, Diversity Promotion Office (Research Fellow)
SUZUKI Fumiko Meiji University, School of Information and Communication (Part-time Lecturer)
TANAKA Keiko The Institute for Research on Household Economics (Research Fellow)
TABUCHI Rokuro Sophia University, Faculty of Human Sciences (Professor)
TSUCHIKURA Reiko Hokusei Gakuen University (Part-time Lecturer)
TSUTSUI Junya Ritsumeikan University, College of Social Sciences (Associate Professor)
NAGAI Akiko Japan Women’s University, Faculty of Integrated Arts and Social Sciences (Associate Professor)
NISHINO Michiko Toyo University, Faculty of Sociology (Professor)
NISHIMURA Junko Meisei University, School of Humanities (Associate Professor)
FUKUDA Nobutaka Aoyama Gakuin University, School of Social Informatics (Professor)
MATSUNOBU Hiromi Komazawa University, Faculty of Letters (Associate Professor)
YASUDA Tokio Kansai University, Faculty of Sociology Department of Sociology (Associate Professor)
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