Care, Generations and Reciprocity in Children’s Picturebooks in Japan

Katsura Sako, Sarah Falcus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


To explore the cultural discourse of ageing, illness and care through the lens of generations, this chapter analyses post-1980 Japanese picturebooks that depict generational relations and care in a familial context. Situating these books in the history of familial and social care in Japan during the second half of the twentieth century to the present, and considering the specific history and features of children’s picturebooks in Japan, the authors examine the various ways in which the books promote the traditional – generational and gendered – form of familial care, emphasising notions of duty, responsibility and reciprocity. On one level, these picturebooks suggest a relational model of care, one that accommodates rather than stigmatises dependency and an embodied, potentially vulnerable self. At the same time, however, the books contribute to a social imaginary that idealises gendered care. Furthermore, some books also suggest a paradox at the heart of familial relationality: that it can lead to anxieties around dependency on others and can restrict the ways in which autonomy is exercised.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationContemporary Narratives of Ageing, Illness, Care
EditorsKatsura Sako, Sarah Falcus
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781003058618
ISBN (Print)9780367528393, 9781032200149
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2021

Publication series

NameRoutledge Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Literature


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