Intergenerational coresidence of the Japanese elderly: Are cultural norms proactive or reactive?

Emiko Takagi, Merril Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Relatively high prevalence of coresidence between older parents and adult children in Japan is generally interpreted as a structural manifestation of traditional family norms; however, recent socioeconomic changes in Japan have called this into question. This study analyzes national data from older people in Japan to examine the reciprocal relationship between two types of intergenerational coresidence and normative beliefs about traditional stem-family living arrangements. Two-stage least squares regression analysis reveals that coresidence with married children and traditional normative beliefs mutually reinforces each other, whereas coresidence with unmarried children strengthens normative beliefs, but not vice versa. The authors argue that the composition of multigenerational households of older people in Japan is shifting toward a type where instrumental concerns of both generations take precedence over traditional cultural ideology. Traditional norms still motivate the formation of stem-family households but are also used to justify instrumentally driven living arrangements with single children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-492
Number of pages20
JournalResearch on Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Culture
  • Family
  • Living arrangements
  • Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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