More people in Japan are living into old age than ever before, and most will receive care from a spouse or adult child in the years prior to death. I argue that this care, and the ways it affects emotional adjustment in bereavement, are the most important factors shaping patterns of mourning and memorial in contemporary Japan. By turning from the spectacle of collective and public rituals around death and examining individual narratives, I show how care becomes the basis for the experience of what Strait calls “entangled agency” and Marshall Sahlins refers to as “mutuality of being” with the deceased after the care has “ended.” I argue that providing care for a dying older person entails practices, sensibilities, and affective attunements that bring about transformations of the self that persist after death. The imagined transformations of the deceased in the “other world” mirror those created by carers through objects, images, memories, and practices of mourning.
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of Social Sciences
Year of publication: 2018Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-10-03