History of NFRJ

National Family Research of Japan (NFRJ) is a series of nation-wide surveys of families based on random samples in Japan. It has been organized by  the National Family Research committee of the Japan Society of Family Sociology . This project has two primary objectives: to periodically collect national representative data that is useful in research on Japanese families, and to make these data available for secondary use by scholars.

The first survey was conducted in fiscal 1998 (NFRJ98). A special survey titled “ Special Survey  2001” was conducted in fiscal 2001 (NFRJ-S01). The second survey was conducted in fiscal 2003 (NFRJ03). The third survey was conducted in fiscal 2008 (NFRJ08). Now we conduct a series of follow-up surveys (NFRJ-08Panel) for a subsample of respondents for NFRJ08. Prior to these surveys, two preliminary surveys were conducted in 1997 in the Tokyo area. The data collected from these surveys were publicly released via the SSJ Data Archive at the University of Tokyo. Many researchers have used NFRJ data for their secondary analyses.

The lead-up to the first survey (NFRJ98)

The concept for the NFRJ project was already conceived way back in September 1992 by the Japan Society of Family Sociology, Kenkyuu Katudou Iinkai [Research Activities Committee] headed by Masaoka Kanji. The Japan Society of Family Sociology approved the plan of the research project in July 1993 at the Third Conference of the society. From that point onward voluntary members of the society began planning a project for a national survey. In 1994, they started to apply for KAKENHI (grants-in-aid for scientific research by the Ministry of Education). In September 1995,  the National Family Research committee headed by Watanabe Hideki was established as a special committee under the Japan Society of Family Sociology (led by Masaoka Kanji). Discussion began on the survey design and organization. Then the society called its members to attend Zenkoku Kazoku Tyousa Kenkyuukai [National Family Research Study Group]. The study group held the first meeting in January 6, 1996 at Waseda University. In that same year,  the National Family Research committee  began to issue NFR Letter as a regular publication to notify society members about the progress of the research. The Committee thereby aimed to activate the research with broad participation from the society members through real-time sharing of information about ongoing activities.

Finally, the project got a fund of 40.9 million yen from the Ministry of Education for the project “Gendai Kazoku no Kisoteki Kenkyuu” [basic research on the contemporary family] headed by Morioka Kiyomi, Professor of Shukutoku University, from 1998 to 2000. Sampling was conducted in October 1998, with the actual process of the survey taking place in January 1999. It took six years from the planning stage to actually implementing the survey. The project was almost 10 years old when the final goal —the public release of the data for secondary use— was achieved.

(Translation from “Introduction” of Gendai Kazoku no Kouzou to Hen’you [Structure and Change in Contemporary Japanese Families], edited by Watanabe Hideki, Inaba Akihide, and Shimazaki Naoko, published by the University of Tokyo Press in 2004)

Special Survey  2001(NFRJ-S01)

(Conducted at the beginning of 2002)

The 2nd and 3rd Surveys (NFRJ03, NFRJ08)

(Conducted at the beginning of 2004 and 2009)

Follow-up Surveys (NFRJ-08Panel)

From 2009 to 2012.

NFRJ Surveys

Documents for the surveys.

Data and Results