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Title: Older spouse care relationships in the Kanto region of eastern Honshu, Japan
Author: Oda, Akiko
ISNI:       0000 0004 2681 6008
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2009
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Since the start of this new millennium, there has been increased interest in researching spouse care in later life in Japan. However, such research has strongly focused on older couples who use Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) services, and the effect of this care intervention in their daily lives. This thesis explores the nature of gendered inequalities in the older spouse care relationship, including independent couples, in which the care is provided mainly by the wife to her husband, who has intensive care needs. Separate qualitative interviews were conducted with each partner in 47 older couples living in the Kanto region of Eastern Honshu. A novel aspect is the separate interviewing of both spouses where previous studies on ageing have usually interviewed the spouses together or have only interviewed one partner. My research goes deeper than earlier studies by characterising the nature of inequalities in older Japanese spouse couple relationships, through an exploration of gender relations. It has identified several pertinent issues, which include the performance of bodywork, health-related stigma, emotional labour, socio-economic background, intergenerational relationships, and hegemonic masculinity, all of which combine to shape the overall nature of structural inequality experienced by older Japanese female spouse caregivers. Important concepts found to be associated with the quality of older spouse relationships include Retired Husband Syndrome (RHS) in older Japanese women, the work history of retired salary men, lack of reciprocal relationships in housework sharing, and the ishin denshin concept of understanding without verbalising. Caregiving by older women was found to be deeply rooted in gendered and implicit concepts such as ‘apprenticeship learning’, and the ideology of the wife to provide around the body care to her daikokubashira (breadwinner) husband.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available