Beyond the absent father stereotype

Representations of parenting men and their families in contemporary Japanese film

Authored by: Christie Barber

Routledge Handbook of Japanese Media

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138917415
eBook ISBN: 9781315689036
Adobe ISBN:


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Various issues related to the gendered division of labor have recently received increased media attention in Japan, not least because of the introduction of government policy that aims to improve support systems and employment structures for working men and women with children. There is acknowledgment within public discourse that greater contribution by men to household and childrearing responsibilities would not only have considerable socioeconomic impact, but would also foster better interpersonal relationships within families. In order to engage with such topics this chapter examines representations of parenting men in three Japanese films: Usagi doroppu (Bunny drop, 2011), Kiseki (also known as I wish, 2011), and Soshite chichi ni naru (also known as Like father, like son, 2013). Each film employs the absence and presence of fathers as a thematic center in order to explore issues like the complexity of relationships between men and their families, and the challenges parenting men face in contemporary Japan.

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