Von der Kernfamilie zu alternativen Lebensformen? : Ein Vergleich der Lebensentwürfe in japanischen und deutschen Fernsehserien

Serialized television dramas reflect social tendencies and may equally encourage new trends and intensify those already in existence. A comparison of plot patterns and messages in German and Japanese television series may serve to substantiate this assertion. Up to the 1970s, TV serial dramas in both countries generally presented families living in harmony, whereas alternative life styles – such as one-person households or single-parent families – were introduced only in the nineties. The dependent wives in German series and the devoted mothers of Japanese dramas are now women determining their own courses in life. At the same time, men are frequently depicted as they confront the sudden responsibility for their children’s upbringing. This happens either because the wife died, as is common in German series, or because she broke out of her role of wife and mother, which has become a topic in Japanese television dramas. The portrayals of these men show prominent distinctions. In the German series, they usually leave the household and child care duties to female relatives or domestic servants. In contrast, in some Japanese series fathers learn to deal with these challenges on their own. The fact that alternative models of living are increasingly depicted in television series leads one to the assumption that they are increasingly accepted by society. Simultaneously, such series may help advance the general awareness of alternative life styles and their acceptance as an ordinary part of social life. In the case of Japan, this is of special importance, since the social pressure of living in a conventional family environment is still significant.


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