CRJ Lunchtime Lecture series
Presenter: Evan Koike
Location: Asian Studies, 604
Time: March 12, 12:30-1:30
Smiling Fathers, Smiling Families: The Promotion of Hybrid Masculinities by Japanese Nonprofit Organizations Focused on Parenting
Abstract: Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork and interviews that I conducted at nonprofit organizations (NPOs) working with new fathers in the Greater Tokyo Area, this talk will analyze how these groups teach Japanese fathers to blur the boundaries between family-focused and hegemonic masculinities and to adopt hybrid masculinities that emphasize greater expressiveness and a willingness to perform tasks that Japanese society views as traditionally feminine. Faced with the conflicting demands of work and home, many members of the “child-raising generation” of Japanese fathers are seeking more holistic lifestyles by championing work-life balance. The NPOs focused on parenting provide supportive communities and host workshops and presentations about how Japanese men can become parents who participate in their children’s lives and who contribute to the emotional well-being of their families. However, any decoupling of masculinities from the workplace is fraught with complications, and men often encounter challenges when translating the NPOs’ theories into their own daily practices. The work superiors, coworkers, and neighbors of men who are involved fathers often do not understand or accept the fathers’ parenting and work choices, forcing the latter to make difficult choices about their priorities.
Bio: Evan Koike is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. His research examines public policy and gender norms in relation to changing Japanese parenting practices. His other interests include issues of education and disability in East Asia.