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The Asian side of the world - II

Jean-François Sabouret

Part Three. Constructing theories

For a loving policy: what the meeting between Japan and the west tells us about the couple and love

Jean-Michel Butel

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January 2013

Love, sexuality, redefinition of marriage or its predicted dissolution, the modern-day couple is the subject of crucial public debates and demands, as well as statistics and scholarly studies to analyse its every detail. And yet accounts that trace the changes it has undergone—which appear monthly—generally follow a fairly simple pattern of explanations, the repetition of which encourages a cautious stance. Studying the issues of love and the resulting discourses in non-western societies may challenge certain over-repeated facts. Japan is a particularly interesting case, in that it can be analysed in some detail from a wealth of data (historical, demographic, sociological and literary) that enable us to go beyond the modern period and, from the outset, the well-worn issue of the modernization of traditional societies.

The western stance appears to me to have been clearly illustrated once again in a recent article published in the online version of Le Monde, in which the a...

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