Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/145329
Title: Old Age in the Past, the Past in Old Age: Examining How the Media, State and Individual Coped with the Elderly and Aging in Early Meiji Japan (1872-1878)
Authors: TAN JIA MIN SARAH
Keywords: old age, aging, the elderly, early Meiji, elder care, Nishiki-e Shimbun, Chuukou setsugi records, Koume Nikki, Meiji-era press, state rewards, Confucian values, lived experiences
Issue Date: 17-Apr-2018
Citation: TAN JIA MIN SARAH (2018-04-17). Old Age in the Past, the Past in Old Age: Examining How the Media, State and Individual Coped with the Elderly and Aging in Early Meiji Japan (1872-1878). ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Focus on present-day issues related to the elderly in Japan has contributed to a very much contemporary view of aging in the country today. However, this also overlooks the possibility that a Japan of the past could, too, have coped with old age and an elderly population. In this view, this thesis turns to the period of the early Meiji years to examine the ways in which various actors – including the media, state and elderly individuals themselves – coped with old age and aging in a time of social and cultural upheaval. Through an examination of empirical material from the early 1870s in Japan, including nishiki-e shimbun (picture newspapers), chûkô setsugi records (records of rewards for filial piety) and a diary by the female artist Kawai Koume from the early 1870s in Japan, I argue that in an era of change, it was elements of the past that came to serve as a reference point in dealing with the issue of old age. While this on the one hand translated itself into new freedoms with which to disparage previously more respectful views of the elderly in the media, it also provided a resource with which the state could redefine old, Confucian values related to elder care for liberal ends in society. Indeed, the elderly person, too, used familiar ways of the past to cope with old age in a time of rapid transformation. Ultimately, this thesis serves to highlight the related insight that it is perhaps precisely in looking back into history that ways to cope with aging and old age today may present themselves. It also contributes to scholarship not only in retrieving a narrative of an oft-forgotten group, but also in helping to better understand Japan’s trajectory of modern development through the lens of old age.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/145329
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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