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Elderly Loneliness in ContemporaryJapan: Sociable Widows, Creepy Men and the Prison of Caregiving

An anthropological lecture by Aaron Hames

Friday, 24 February at 7:00 p.m.

Hong Kong Museum of History

Lecture Hall, Ground Floor, 100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui

All are welcome! Space, however, is limited to 110 seats.

The lecture is conducted in English.

Japan is the most aged society in the world. While the elderly have plenty of peers, many must contend with challenges due to small households, poverty, diminishing state support, and shortages of nursing homes. The prospect of “lonely death” (kodokushi 孤独死) in which an individual passes away alone and unnoticed, has become a public concern. Civic groups and state programs seek to prevent lonely death for the elderly who dwell in solitude. Nevertheless, the problem of loneliness in life often remains unaddressed. This talk will explore sources of loneliness for elderly individuals and how they seek remedies. It will show that loneliness is not neatly reducible to small households or poverty. Even when family is present and engaged, social fulfillment frequently stems from relationships outside of the household. A shift toward solitary residence can present a fresh opportunity to pursue social life.

Aaron Hames is a sociocultural anthropologist and a Research Assistant Professor in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at the University of Hong Kong. His research examines how the elderly in Japan encounter an aging society and work through cooperative medical organizations to meet their social and health needs.

For more information, please contact Stan Dyer on 9746 9537 or,,,@HKASTalks

* The Museum makes no representations on the content of this lecture.



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