21 FEB, Symposium “Singlehood, Living Alone and Work-Life Conflict…”

International Symposium “Singlehood, Living Alone and Work-Life Conflict in Japan”

Date: Wednesday 21 February, 2018  13:00-16:00
Venue: Room 102, Inter-Faculty Building 2

Coordinator: Annette Schad-Seifert (Specially Appointed Professor, IGS / Professor, Japanese Studies, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)

Japan has been showing a marked trend toward developing into a single society. One of the causes for this trend is an increase in the proportion of never-married persons, and of persons who do not intend to ever marry. These changes in marriage behavior have raised grave concerns among policymakers and scholars as this trend is correlated with the probability of living alone in old age, i.e., without a partner or family. According to a survey report published by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research in 2016, it was estimated that half of the population in Japan will be single by 2035.

The symposium invites international scholars of expertise in sociology, social anthropology and Japanese studies to present the causes and potential consequences of the dramatic rise of solo living in Japan. It has been assumed that higher education levels and growing economic independence of women have triggered a society in which fewer marriages take place. However, detailed empirical analyses of relationships between avoiding marriage or union formation and social values, working patterns, or corporate culture are still limited.


Introductory Remarks
Annette Schad-Seifert
(Specially Appointed Professor, IGS / Professor, Japanese Studies, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)
Japan’s Never-Married Singles in National Population Surveys
Research Reports
Laura Dales
(Lecturer, Asian Studies, The University of Western Australia)
Single Women and Their Households
Swee-Lin Ho
(Assistant Professor, Sociology Department, National University of Singapore)
Gendered Precarity: The Ambivalent and Conflicted Lives of Women Managers in Japan
Scott North (Professor of Sociology, Osaka University)
Nora Kottmann (Lecturer, Japanese Studies, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)


Simultaneous interpretation available (English-Japanese)

Admission Free

Feb. 2 International Symposium Pre-reading List

Reading materials available at IGS office.(contact:

【English book】

  • Jamieson, Lynn; Simpson, Roona (2013): Living Alone – Globalization, Identity and Belonging. Palgrave Macmillan. (Introduction, pp 1-22)
  • Klinenberg, Eric (2012): Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. Penguin Press. (Introduction: The Singleton Society, pp 1-27)

【Japanese book】

  • 荒川和久『超ソロ社会「独身大国・日本」の衝撃』PHP新書、2017、(第1章、18~51頁)
  • 長田夏来『生涯未婚時代』イースト新書、2017、(第1章、18~48頁)
  • 山田昌弘『「家族」難民: 生涯未婚率25%社会の衝撃』朝日新聞出版2014、(第2章「『家族』と『シングル』をめぐる戦後日本の二つの常識」、56~73頁)

【English video】

【Japanese-English Video】

Organizer: Institute for Gender Studies (IGS), Ochanomizu University