Who Cares?: Japanese Male Caregivers and Shifting Cultural Scripts on Family, Gender, and Care

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis


East Asian Studies

First Advisor

David Strand




In order to understand the experiences of male caregivers of the elderly, it is important to look at the cultural context in which the caregivers, both male and female, reside. Therefore in the following sections I will not only address how cultural norms shape the experiences of male caregivers, but how they interact with the experiences of female caregivers as well. In many ways, the same cultural ideals regarding gender roles, caregiving, and family play a large part in shaping the experiences of male and female caregivers, although often in different ways. Additionally, the established norm of caregiving as a female responsibility shapes not only male caregivers’ self-identities, but the way others view them as well, and these perceptions can often influence male caregivers’ experiences. Yet it is important to note that both male and female caregivers’ views and identities share many common cultural origins as well. Caregivers’ experiences and identities are not only shaped by the pre-existing cultural norms, but conversely work to change these norms as well. As more men take on the role of caregiver, they challenge the existing norm that caregiving is solely a female responsibility, consequently changing the existing norms. Moreover, the experiences of these male caregivers create a newly adapted notion of what being a man and a caregiver can mean.

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