A comparative analysis of intergenerational relations in East Asia

Ju Ping Lin*, Chin Chun Yi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Due to rapid aging of populations in East Asia, intergenerational relations are changing. This study examines these changes in four East Asian societies, chosen for their shared cultural background of patriarchy: China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Data were taken from the 2006 East Asian Social Survey. The authors' analyses show that in these four East Asian societies, contemporary intergenerational relations reveal both continuity and change. Despite changing family structures, co-residence between generations remains clearly patriarchal, and the main flow of intergenerational support is still from adult children to parents. The dominant patriarchal culture also expresses itself in the continuing influence of filial norms on intergenerational relations, in that sons tend to perform various filial duties much more than daughters. However, the emergence of prolonged co-residence of young, unmarried and less educated adult children with their parents implies that the traditional pattern of intergenerational support in East Asia is changing. In addition, while filial norms remain strong the actual practice of filial responsibility may be shared among adult siblings with various resources. The study concludes that intergenerational relations in China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan share similar features, in that both change and continuity of relational patterns are observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-315
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Sociology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013 May


  • Co-residence
  • East Asia
  • filial norm
  • intergenerational exchanges
  • intergenerational relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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