Research - Book Chapters

Please find links here to my published chapters in edited collections, with the most recent towards the top. You can hover your cursor over the book covers for chapter title summaries and links, or scroll down for more information and links to publisher, library and purchasing websites. Thank you for your interest and please get in touch here: About Me.

Understanding the Dynamics of Regional Growth and Shrinkage in 21 st Century Japan: Towards the Achievement of an Asia-Pacific 'Depopulation Dividend'

Matanle, P. (2017, London: Routledge).
D. Chiavacci & C. Hommerich (Eds) Social Inequality in Post-Growth Japan: Transformation During Economic and Demographic Stagnation.

Full text accepted final draft available at

Japan is shrinking. Under present trends government projections indicate that the country’s population may decrease in number by up to one third, from nearly 128 million people in 2008 to around 87 million by 2060 (NIPSSR 2012) , due to a sustained fall in rates of human reproduction in the postwar era. In combination with steadily increasing life expectancy Japan is therefore one of the most rapidly ageing countries in the world. With 25 per cent of the population now aged 65 or over, Japan is now a ‘hyper-aged society’ and the consequences of ageing and depopulation are already appearing across the entire Japanese archipelago and throughout all areas of activity (Coulmas 2007: 5; MIC 2015).
      This chapter follows on from Lützeler’s numerical analysis of regional social inequality in Japan, and Elis’s on the discourse of rural-urban dynamics (chapters 12 and 13 in this volume) to present an overview of rural-urban dynamics in post-growth Japan via a qualitative analysis of the means by which some rural residents are exercising their agency in responding to their emerging circumstances. Overall, the chapter is intended as a call to understand the broader geographical significance of Japan’s current situation by suggesting that agency within Japan’s rural regions can deliver positive spill-over effects, with the rural Japanese experience being potentially useful both in assisting Japan’s urban areas in their transition to shrinkage, and in contributing to an emerging post-growth and post-developmental relationship between Japan and its Asia-Pacific neighbours.

サラリーマンマンガにみる男女のライフコース ――『島耕作』『サラリーマン金太郎』シリーズからの考察

(Sarariiman manga ni miru danjo no raifu kōsu: ‘Shima Kōsaku’ ‘Sarariiman Kintarō’ siriisu kara no kōsatsu - Understanding men’s and women’s life courses through salaryman manga: Case studies from the Shima Kosaku and Salaryman Kintaro series)

Ishiguro, K. & Matanle, P. (2013, Tokyo: Shinyōsha)
ライフコース選択のゆくえ ――日本とドイツの仕事・家族・住まい (Riafu kōsu sentaku no yukue - Nihon to Doitsu no shigoto ・ie ・ sumai - Beyond a Standardized Life Course: Biographical Choices about Work, Family and Housing in Japan and Germany).
H. Tanaka, M.Godzik, and K. Iwata-Weickgenannt (Eds.)

Fom the Chapter Introduction



Matanle, P. (2012, Lanham, MD: Lexington Books)
Iles, T. & Matanle, P. (Eds) Researching Twenty-First Century Japan: New Directions and Approaches for the Electronic Age.

Full text accepted final draft available at

From the Preface
… Even in 2000, when the electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies (ejcjs) began publishing on contemporary Japan online, the internet was for some an unfamiliar medium for the dissemination of research and writing in the social sciences and humanities, though it had already been in common use for some years before that by scholars in the medical, natural and engineering sciences.
      Today, with younger generations growing up in a world where electronic connectivity can be taken for granted, there remain some doubts as to the reliability or quality of purely electronic scholarly publishing. I firmly believe that these misgivings will eventually be proven to be on the wrong side of history; indeed they are as old as printing itself, which was also regarded by some as a dangerous and unreliable instrument. ….

Lifetime Employment in 21st Century Japan: Stability and Resilience Under Pressure in the Japanese Management System

Matanle, P. & Matsui, K. (2011, Berlin: Peter Lang).
S.A. Horn (Ed.) Emerging Perspectives in Japanese Human Resource Management.

Full text accepted final draft available at

Chapter Introduction
Despite repeated predictions of its demise, lifetime employment remains the core institution of the Japanese management system, and regular employment in a large and prestigious organization continues to be the aspiration of the majority of Japanese younger people. …
      After reviewing the key literature, we will pull together statistical data since the late 1980s to analyse job tenure in the post-Bubble era, as well as provide a summary of qualitative research from the same period, to argue that the institution of lifetime employment shows little sign of weakening; that from the employer’s perspective the rationale for maintaining it continues, and that it still provides the best means available within Japan for the satisfaction of employees’ needs over the course of their working lives. We base much of our discussions around analysis of labour throughput mechanisms, including legal constraints on organizational flexibility, and we end with the conclusion that lifetime employment remains stable, despite the pressures that Japanese organisations have encountered in recent decades. In this way, the Japanese management system demonstrates its fundamental strength and resilience throughout the long period of Japan’s postwar expansion, and its subsequent globalization and post-industrial transformations.

Shrinking Sado: Education, Employment and the Decline of Japan’s Rural Regions

Matanle. P. (2008, Berlin: Projekt Schrumpfende Städte)
Project Office Philipp Oswalt (Eds) Shrinking cities - Complete Works 3 Japan.

Full published text available Open Access online at the Shrinking Cities website

This article uses Sado Island as a case study in rural decline in Japan and argues that a chronic and structurated out-migration of younger people from the island to urban areas in search of education and employment opportunities has been a major cause of this decline. To the extent that what has already taken place in Japan’s rural areas may be indicative of the shape of things to come for the country’s provincial towns and cities, as the population fall begins to bite more deeply, the article then goes on to systematise these processes within the larger context of the acceleration and intensification of the processes underpinning Japanese capitalism. The article will propose that, in addition to its ongoing exhaustion of nature, Japanese capital is exhausting the country’s labour power and, consequently, its population. Part of the solution to the exhaustion of labour and nature may be for us to think beyond modernity into a post-capitalist order. Thus, rather than being seen as a dying relic of the country’s past, this article will suggest that the society of Sado Island may assist us in imagining and planning a new direction for Japan.

Organic Sources for the Revitalization of Rural Japan: The Craft Potters of Sado

Matanle, P. (2006, Tokyo: Deutsches Instituts für Japanstudien)
R. Haak (Ed.) Japanstudien: Jahrbuch des Deutsches Instituts für Japanstudien.für Japanstudien.

Full text available Open Access online at the Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien website

This paper was republished in 2007 in Contemporary Japan.

The population and society of Sado Island are declining at an alarming rate. Much of this decline has been due to endemic outward migration of the island's younger people to Japan's large urban areas in search of opportunities for tertiary education and salaried employment. Even though opportunities to find work in Sado do exist, these are in occupations that younger people currently find unattractive. Moreover, education in Sado currently does not serve local circumstances and needs well, being organised primarily by and for the urban centre. This research starts by presenting an overview of the issues surrounding population, education, and employment on Sado, and then moves to presenting a case study of the life and work Sado Island's craft-potters. The article uses statistical data from official bodies and unstructured interviews with the island's residents as empirical support for its theoretical discussions. The article concludes by hinting at a possible stabilization of the population through a combination of educational reform, craft-based employment re-generation, and taking advantage of emerging trends in world tourism.

Beyond Lifetime Employment? Re-Fabricating Japan's Employment Culture

Matanle, P. (2006, Basingstoke, Hants: PalgraveMacmillan)
P. Matanle and W. Lunsing (Eds) Perspectives on Work, Employment and Society in Japan

Full text accepted final draft available at

Chapter Introduction
Japanese working cultures have for many decades been dominated by the so-called system of lifetime employment in large organizations. Although the proportion of the working population employed under this system is often in dispute,1 it dominates the employment horizon. Moreover, the system radiates out beyond the boundaries of the Japanese firm. For example, it is the system to which the secondary and higher education systems are geared and towards which Japan's most academically successful students are steered, and its structure has provided the regime around which are arranged many of the institutions of the post-war Japanese nuclear family. Its influence is such that, even in the dual labour market that continues to characterize employment conditions in Japan, small and medium-sized enterprises must take its normative power into account when they organize their own employment practices.

イギリス:イギリスの資本主義•日本の資本主義 (Great Britain: Japanese Capitalism - British Capitalism)

Matanle, P. (2006, Tokyo: Yuhikaku)
A. Kubo, T. Kikkawa, and G.D.Hook. (Eds) 現代日本企業〈3〉グローバル・レビュー (Gendai nihon kigyō 3: gurōbaru rebiu - The contemporary Japanese enterprise 3: Global review).

Pre-translation full text English language final draft available on

Chapter Introduction (Pre-translation English version)
In 1973 the British academic Ronald Dore published what was to become one of the most influential books ever written in the fields of industrial sociology and Japanese studies. British Factory-Japanese Factory: The Origins of National Diversity in Industrial Relations (Dore, 1973) was a brilliantly conceived comparative investigation of two factories, English Electric in the UK and Hitachi in Japan. Coming as it did against the backdrop of a relative decline in Britain’s economic performance and international prestige, and at a time when western commentators and policy makers were becoming more aware of the seriousness of the Japanese industrial challenge, this book was as much a wake-up call for British industry as it was a presentation of a thorough and deep empirical study of the two factories. ……
      This chapter presents a historical analysis of some of the principal social science research on the Japanese firm produced in the United Kingdom since Dore published British Factory-Japanese Factory. Prominent within this research have been studies on foreign direct investment (FDI) by Japanese firms in the UK, industrial relations in Japan and in Japanese plants in the UK, the employment system in large Japanese enterprises and more theoretical and wide-ranging discussions on Japanese-style management and Japanese-style capitalism and their relationship to worldwide economic development and the possible convergence of industrial systems.