The Borderlands of Motherhood: Representation of Spatial Belonging of Mothers and Families in Government Posters


Japan, like many developed countries, has seen its population decrease and reached the lowest low fertility rate of 1.41 in 2012. This tendency was first associated with the lower number of children born to married couples. But since the 1970s, the main cause identified is the postponement of marriage, and so childbirth, by women. Following the decreased fertility rate, the government carried on several campaigns to promote and encourage family life for both men and women. In this paper I focus on a series of drawn advertisements emanating from the Cabinet Office and highlighting the community's close links on the occasion of the Family's day in November. Those posters respond to a negative vision of motherhood as an isolating task in contemporary urban Japan. On the contrary, they highlight the participation of other members to child-rearing activities. I consider those posters, published in the late 2000s and early 2010s, in the lineage of previous lifestyle campaigns in pre and post war Japan. I argue that they contribute to ‘mold the mind' (Garon, 1997) by validating certain forms of family and the relationships between its members. This paper focuses on two main visual aspects of the posters: the spatial representation, and the social relationships. The posters show an attempt to redefine the geographical space of motherhood, shifting from an indoor, private space to an outdoor public space.The ads depict ideals of family, motherhood, childhood, as well as a harmonious cohabitation of all families, to form a unified and peaceful community.

Author Information
Aurore Montoya, University of the West of England, United Kingdom

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2014
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
England A. (2014) The Borderlands of Motherhood: Representation of Spatial Belonging of Mothers and Families in Government Posters ISSN: 2187-4751 – The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies 2014 – Official Conference Proceedings
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