Graduate Student Forum

Under what conditions do mothers use kindergartens in the metropolitan area in Japan?

Tuesday, 7 November 2023 | 16:00 - 16:45 (JST)
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  • Anju YAMADA Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo
  • Rieko Kage Professor,Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo

This study employs qualitative comparative analysis to investigate the factors influencing decisions to opt for kindergartens (幼稚園) over childcare facilities (保育所). While existing research suggests that childcare facilities are more commonly utilized in urban areas, in Japan, kindergartens are notably preferred in the urban regions surrounding metropolitan. The primary objective of this study is to ascertain whether mothers’ choices to withdraw from full-time employment and use kindergartens are driven by personal family-oriented preferences or their unsupportive work environment for families. Conducted in Kanagawa Prefecture, this study entailed interviews with seven parents using childcare facilities and ten parents whose children attend kindergartens. Preliminary findings indicate that both family orientation and non-family work environment are sufficient conditions for choosing a kindergarten, both conditions can almost be paraphrased. This is because those with family-oriented preferences often experienced workplaces that were not family-friendly. To gain a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding, further research is imperative for the future.


Anju Yamada studied political science at Keio University (BA) and public policy at the Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo (Professional Degree, equivalent to MA) before starting her doctorate in pollitical science at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Tokyo. She started her doctorate in Political Science at the University of Tübingen as her second affiliation. Her doctoral research, diversity in the implementation of childcare policy at the regional level in Germany, was funded by The Center for German and European Studies (DESK). Her research interests lie in the Gender policy and family policy.