Tough Choices: Bearing an Illegitimate Child in Japan

Author: Ekaterina Hertog (DPhil)

Stanford University Press, Jan 2009

Ekaterina Hertog's Tough Choices: Bearing an Illegitimate Child in Japan (Stanford University Press, 2009) provides the first systematic study of single motherhood in contemporary Japan. Seeking to answer why illegitimate births in Japan remain such a rarity, Hertog spent over three years interviewing single mothers, academics, social workers, activists, and policymakers about the beliefs, values, and choices that unmarried Japanese mothers have. Pairing her findings with extensive research, she considers the economic and legal disadvantages these women face, as well as the cultural context that underscores family change and social inequality in Japan. This is the only scholarly account that offers sufficient detail to allow for extensive comparisons with unmarried mothers in the West.

View publication