Ageing with Smartphones in Japan
Care in a visual digital age
Older adults in Japan, one of the most ageing populations in the world, are starting to adopt the smartphone. What does this mean for friendship, gendered labour, multigenerational living, internal migration, health and indeed purpose in life (ikigai)? Based on 16-months of ethnographic research in urban Kyoto and in rural Kōchi Prefecture, Ageing with Smartphones in Japan follows people as they navigate social and personal shifts post-retirement.
Examining how older women and men negotiate oppressive structures within society, the smartphone emerges as both challenging and perpetuating gender-based norms around care. In witnessing the response of older adults to the wider context of societal ageing and the various forms of precarity that it can engender, this book observes how people creatively navigate the challenges and opportunities of later life to define their own experience of ageing.
The rise of digital visual communication among people in their 50s and older opens new possibilities for sociality and proximity among friends and family. It also presents a methodological challenge for researchers. This book responds with a series of graphic methodological experimentations, including co-created comics, participant drawings, and the author’s own fieldwork sketches and imaginative illustrations, to explore this fundamental shift in communication towards digital images.
Laura Haapio-Kirk is a PhD student at UCL Anthropology and RAI/Leach Fellow in Public Anthropology.
List of figures
2 Experiences of ageing
3 Everyday life: gendered labour and non-retirement
4 Social relations: sustaining mutual forms of care (yui)
5 Crafting the smartphone: visual digital communication
6 Health: self-tracking and warm contact
7 Rural Japan: between decline and rejuvenation
8 Purpose in life: 'ikigai’ through the life course
Format: Open Access PDF
2 maps, 20 line drawings, and 22 colour photo/halftones
Copyright: © 2024
Publication: August 01, 2024
Series: Ageing with Smartphones