Intergenerational Work in Japan

In August 2006, Penn State faculty members participated in Uniting the Generations: Japan Conference to Promote Intergenerational Programs and Practices.

In 1970, the famous cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead wrote, “The continuity of all cultures depends on the living presence of at least three generations.”

This fundamental idea resonates in countries across the globe. Opportunities are being created for people of all ages to come together to share life experiences, to become more engaged in civic and community activity, and to provide support and care for one another. Innovative intergenerational programs and policies are serving to help to meet eldercare and childcare needs, strengthen educational systems, enrich the lives of retirees, improve relations between grandparents and grandchildren, reinforce people’s sense of cultural heritage, and strengthen community support systems.

In the U.S., the intergenerational field has a 30 year history, with various organizational systems established at the local, state, and national levels to stimulate and support programmatic innovation. An impressive intergenerational programming movement in Japan is now taking form. There are all sorts of innovative programs, a growing group of scholars focusing on intergenerational issues, and increased interest and activity aimed at forging intergenerational alliances at the local, regional, and, more recently, the national levels.

On August 2-5, 2006, a major international conference will be held at Waseda University in Tokyo. The conference was organized by the Japan Intergenerational Unity Association (JIUA) in conjunction with Penn State University, and over 20 partnering organizations and agencies in Japan.

The conference brought together a wide range of professionals – including educators, social workers, community developers, community organization representatives, and health care professionals – to learn about promising intergenerational programs and practices for addressing relevant social issues and policy concerns.

For more information about the 2006 Conference:


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Program from the 2006 conference, Uniting the Generations: Japan Conference to Promote Intergenerational Programs and Practices.