Identity and the Good Death in the Narratives of Bereaved Japanese People

Christine A Valentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article explores the relationship between dominant cultural norms of identity and individual narratives of grief in contemporary Japan. Emphasising interdependency, these norms are reinforced by the ancestral tradition, which promotes continuing mutual obligations between living, dying and dead family members. In a context of medicalised dying and increasing emphasis on personal autonomy and choice, the article considers how bereaved individuals negotiated competing demands of traditional and contemporary ideas in attempting to approximate a good death for their loved ones. It illustrates how they redefined traditional norms to achieve more realistic, nuanced and contingent understandings of identity, in attempting to live with their loss.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-86
Number of pages5
JournalGrief Matters: The Australian Journal of Grief and Bereavement
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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