Accepted Paper:

Re/making boundaries and relatedness: shared household living in contemporary Japan and the UK  


Yoko Narisada (Okinawa University)

Paper short abstract:

Unlike in the UK, it is not common for people to share a rented house/flat in contemporary Japan. By comparing housing cases in Japan and the UK, this paper explores how people differently re/make boundaries and relatedness through daily lives such as conflicts, negotiation and accommodation.

Paper long abstract:

It is common for non-married young students and professionals in particular to live on their own in contemporary Japan. This tendency towards individualism in Japanese housing contrasts sharply with the shared household housing culture in the UK where shared housing is quite popular especially among undergraduate and postgraduate students. While shared housing has become fashionable since 2000s in Japan, its number is still limited. In this sense, it is crucial to take a careful look at Japanese contexts of shared housing and to see the differences and similarities between in the UK and Japan.

By comparing these housing cases in Japan and the UK, this paper explores how people differently and similarly re/make boundaries and relatedness between them through their daily sharing lives which inevitably brings about conflicts, negotiation and accommodation in both cases. Through this, it ethnographically aims to re-examine key concepts of housing such as boundaries, relatedness, privacy, the private, the public, individualism, ownership and intimacy and to illuminate the practical and theoretical possibilities of shared household housing. The paper is based on participant observation in rented flats/houses and informal and formal interviews with flat/house sharers in Tokyo, Japan, and in Edinburgh, the UK between 2013 and 2014.

Panel P140
Ethnographies of (dis)connection: marriage, families, households and homesteads in contemporary communities