Happiness and the Good Life in Japan


Herausgegeben von Wolfram Manzenreiter und Barbara Holthus

Holthus, Barbara und Wolfram Manzenreiter (Hg.):

2017 Happiness and the Good Life in Japan. London und New York: Routledge.


This book is a unique contribution to the debate on happiness, challenging the essentialist claims of a universally shared sense of happiness and the uniformity of emotional life. With contemporary Japan being in a state of transition and society becoming more diversified, people are confronted with new challenges of how to answer the fundamental question on how to live a life of meaning, value and purpose. The 13 ethnographic case studies in this edited volume offer insights to anthropological understandings of the well-being of different social groups:  men, women, married and singles, homo- and heterosexuals, young and old, parents and grandparents, as well as members of political parties, volunteer organizations, minorities groups, football clubs, or patrons in cocktail bars. Despite the variability of those studied, social relatedness is most pertinent for what they consider to be a good life. All of them experience tensions between social norms or structure on the one hand and the freedom or agency to live against them, or conform to them, on the other hand. Mastering this balancing act well is a prerequisite to live a life of happiness.  In sum, it is (sub)cultural markers that color the aspirations and socially acceptable frames for happiness.

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