Late-in-life childbearing (Kōrei Shussan) in contemporary Japan
Date of Issue2015
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper draws on interviews with a group of 27 Japanese women who were classified as late-in-life-childbearing mothers, or kōrei shussan – women who had had their first delivery at 35 years of age or over. In making sense of the significance, symbolism and consequences of late-life motherhood, the paper utilises a symbolic interactionist perspective to shed light on the cultural, structural, interpersonal and intrapsychic dimensions underpinning the experiences of this group of mothers. The paper highlights the relevance of social interaction and everyday life that make pregnancy an ‘obligation’ for these women. Grounded in the Foucauldian notion of normalisation, the analysis suggests that the experience of late-in-life childbearing can be understood as the result of three forms of pressure: biological, homosocial and work. The late-in-life-childbearing mother largely stems from governmental economic neoliberalism imbued with traditional conservatism and the pervasive influence of the Assisted Reproduction Treatments industry.
Culture, health & sexuality
© 2015 Taylor & Francis. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Culture, Health & Sexuality, Taylor & Francis. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13691058.2015.1048528].