Japan is a rapidly aging society, with a declining birthrate and increasing lifespan. The nation s youth tend to marry late, and some never engage in this form of social contract. Further, the number of couples without children is on the rise, and the proportion of senior citizens in the age pyramid is growing at exceptional speed. Demographic change that reflects these transformations now impacts the country s system of social stratification and inequality. In this collective study, a group of leading Japanese sociologists scrutinizes hidden disparities behind the demographic shifts, asking important questions: In what ways has educational inequality been enhanced? How has household composition changed and which household types are disadvantaged? What is the relationship between class and health? How do the middle-aged unemployed experience inequality? And how does demographic change influence inheritance, pension acquisition and social welfare? Using a variety of quantitative data, the authors address these and other questions elucidating Japan s unprecedented experience from sober sociological perspectives.
Translated by Tom Gill