Haushalt und Familie in San Juan de Yapacani, einer japanischen Auswanderer-Kolonie in Bolivien
Changes in the family structure and the household composition of Japanese immigrants in both parts of the Americas are usually seen against the background of a traditional Japanese family system – the ie-model – whose remains are sought in the different settings to which the immigrants have adapted. This article is based on the assumption that there is no homogenous family model in Japanese society, and that the forms of the family and the household are in continuous interaction with other societal subsystems, especially economic ones. Changes in the structure of households and reproductive behaviour after immigration – the virtual disappearance of vertically extended families and a reduction in the average number of children per family – are interpreted as a reaction to the changing nature of agriculture. Lack of financial means and machinery during the first decades made a household with as many able-bodied workers as possible imperative for economic success. Today, however, the size of the familial work-force is irrelevant, as Bolivians can be hired in sufficient numbers, and agriculture is fully mechanized. One way to optimize economic success for the individual and the nuclear family is to keep the household as small as possible. The data show a marked tendency of flexibility in behaviour, which is also presumably a part of the family system in Japan proper.