Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: May 18, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971935 | Print ISBN: 9781412966702 | Online ISBN: 9781412971935| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Despite Japan's leading role in computer-based play over the last two decades, as signaled by the arrival of Nintendo's “Family Computer,” play has traditionally had a significant role in Japanese history by establishing and reinforcing strict social norms, especially in terms of family values and gender roles. Despite the stereotypical image of the Japanese as workaholics, which was popularized during the 1980s when the nation's economy was booming, play in Japan is not only for children. Both adults and children are often engaged in different types of play. Play for children, particularly in a traditional cultural context, was a means through which they learned social values from their elders. Respecting elders, acquiring social skills, learning manners, and other pragmatic objectives have been major purposes of play, in addition to simply having a good time. Analyzing how children play therefore reveals many of the fundamental values that have characterized Japanese society. ...