Intergenerational Programs

Support for Children, Youth, and Elders in Japan

By Matthew Kaplan, Atsuko Kusano, Ichiro Tsuji, and Shigeru Hisamichi

Subjects: Gerontology/aging Studies
Series: SUNY series in Japan in Transition
Paperback : 9780791436684, 267 pages, January 1998
Hardcover : 9780791436677, 267 pages, January 1998

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Table of contents



Chapter 1. Introduction

Chapter 2. The Changing Nature of Childhood, Youth, and Old Age in Japan

Chapter 3. The Conceptual and Organizational Roots of Japan's Intergenerational Initiatives

Chapter 4. School-based Initiatives

Chapter 5. Community-based Programs, Events, and Activities

Chapter 6. Other Frameworks for Promoting Intergenerational Discourse

Chapter 7. Conclusions

Chapter 8. Discussion

Chapter 9. Recommendations

Chapter 10. Closing Comments






Provides a rarely-seen portrait of intergenerational programs in Japan, including an overview of similar programs in the United States, of growing interest as our population ages.


The "intergenerational programming concept," now garnering increased interest in America, has been applied to Japanese society as a strategy for maintaining intergenerational and cultural continuity in the face of social and demographic changes. While Japan is known for its enduring and resilient family structure which provides support for people of all ages, the country's growing aged population, combined with a trend away from three-generation families and changing social values, exposes a need for new mechanisms beyond the family to promote intergenerational communication, support, and cultural continuity.

The authors identify a rich geographically diverse set of intergenerational programs and activities that serve a wide range of human and community development objectives. Beyond promoting intergenerational understanding among participants, these initiatives function to help people to pursue their educational objectives, arts and recreation interests, desired states of health and welfare, environmental preservation and community development goals, and religious and spiritual well-being. Intergenerational endeavors constitute an integral approach for supplementing familial support systems and maintaining social cohesion in Japan as it enters the twenty-first century.

Matthew Kaplan is Associate Professor of Psychology at Hawaii Pacific University and author of Side by Side: Exploring Your Neighborhood Through Intergenerational Activities. Atsuko Kusano is Associate Professor at Shinshu University. At Tohoku University School of Medicine, Ichiro Tsuji is Associate Professor of Public Health.


"There are flashes in this book that illuminate the profound differences between a traditional homogenous society like Japan and a relatively new, non-homogenous society like the United States. Reading about intergenerational issues in Japan allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the similarities and differences between U.S. and Japanese culture." -- Robert Disch, Hunter College, City University of New York