We are pleased to offer for review ‘Aging and Loss: Mourning and Maturity in Contemporary Japan’ by Jason Danely (Rutgers University Press, 2014). Expressions of interest are welcome from across the medical humanities, but this book may be of particular interest to anthropologists and social scientists.
‘By 2030, over 30% of the Japanese population will be 65 or older, foreshadowing the demographic changes occurring elsewhere in Asia and around the world. What can we learn from a study of the aging population of Japan and how can these findings inform a path forward for the elderly, their families, and for policy makers?
Based on nearly a decade of research, Aging and Loss examines how the landscape of aging is felt, understood, and embodied by older adults themselves. In detailed portraits, anthropologist Jason Danely delves into the everyday lives of older Japanese adults as they construct narratives through acts of reminiscence, social engagement and ritual practice, and reveals the pervasive cultural aesthetic of loss and of being a burden.