CALL FOR PAPERS: Japan: Age in a Time of Precariousness

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Japan: Age in a Time of Precariousness


Asian Center, University of the Philippines, Diliman
International Studies Department, De La Salle University
Japanese Studies Program, Ateneo de Manila University

in cooperation with the

Gender and Development Program
University of the Philippines, Visayas

DATES: 1-2 February 2019
VENUE: Casa Real de Iloilo, Iloilo City (Tentative) 

Population ageing  is a phenomenon that has affected developed countries and has started affecting other parts of the world.  The phenomenon exists through several reasons such as availability of the efficient food distribution to materialize better nutrient supplies and advance medical technology.  It causes the decrease of workforce, a delay in social services, and the social security burden on the working population, and  therefore, brings about the stagnation of the national economy and a loss of vitality of culture and society.  It is an increasingly  researched topic by scholars around the world.

Japan is a focal point in ageing studies. It is labeled as a “super-ageing society” not only because of its high ratio of the aged population and low fertility rates but also its fast pace of aging. Shoshi Koreika ( 少子高齢化) is a term used by most scholars to describe this phenomenon in Japan.  The studies have been made to investigate the reasons for how this phenomenon occurred as well as how the related issues could be addressed. Predicting the aging problems, the Japanese government officially started the implementation of the foreign labor import in the 1970s.  Nonetheless, Japan is now facing the new phase of society with the decreasing national population, which extensively affects areas of society, economy and polity. 

The phenomenon has wide ranging effects not only limited to Japan but also the international relationships. In the Philippines, Japan’s need for healthcare workers has affected the industry, the politics and society. Triggered by the Japan-Philippines Economic Agreement that included the item of healthcare workers, nursing and care-giving schools with Japanese language courses mushroomed in the 1990s, and housekeepers and services have recently been launched.  Many workplaces in Japan, however, are not ready to accept, or even neglect, those foreign workers who are supposed to take care of Japanese in a precarious state. Such precarity in Japan, associated with various forms of insecurity, risk, ambivalence and vulnerability on one hand, may also give impetus for introducing significant changes in structures, policies and experiences on the other.  

Furthermore, this conference examines the politics of age as Japan faces economic challenges that have transformed social, political, economic, and cultural dynamics in Japan. Since the collapse of the economy in the 1990s, Japanese across all ages and genders, adapt to lifestyles that attempt to overcome states of vulnerability. Japan’s decreasing birth rates and growing aging population spark questions surrounding a demographic that can uplift Japan from its precarity. These questions also raise the contributions of indigenous, migrant, and divergent population who is changing the social fabric of Japan as they tackle precariousness in diverse ways. Thus, this conference invites scholars to consider age as a critical lens in the analysis of different issues surrounding Japan’s precarious state. 

For this conference, we encourage Japanese Studies scholars to consider age and precarity as they address any of the following issues and themes: 

Other related topics are also welcome. Please submit the abstracts to this link on or before 30 October 2018. All submissions will be refereed. 
Note: As this conference has no external support, there may not be travel grants for the attendance of this conference.


The conference will consist of sessions with 20 minutes alloted for each paper (+ sufficient Q&A time).
Abstracts and bios should be in English. Please include a title, your name, affiliation, contact details (mailing address, email) and an abstract of your paper (maximum of 500 words). 

Please direct any inquiries to