SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

Forum Mithani

BA (Leeds), MA (Westminster)
  • Overview
  • Research


Forum Mithani
Forum Mithani
Email address:
Thesis title:
Challenging the Two-Parent Norm? Single Mothers in Japanese Visual Media
Year of Study:
4 (Part-time)
Internal Supervisors


Having completed my BA in Japanese Studies at the University of Leeds, I was awarded a Monkasho scholarship to undertake research in Japanese literature and film at Sophia University, Tokyo. After returning to the UK, I completed an MA in Journalism and worked as a freelance journalist and writer. Wishing to combine my interests, experience and knowledge of Japanese culture and media, I enrolled in the PhD programme at SOAS in 2011 on a part-time basis.

As well as my research activities, I also work as a Japanese teacher and workshop leader in London.

PhD Research

My research concerns the representation of single motherhood in contemporary Japanese film and television drama. The trope of single motherhood has become very popular in the Japanese media, with countless images of single mothers, both real and imagined, appearing in magazines, television programmes and films. This fascination with single motherhood is all the more surprising in a country where the proportion of single-mother households remains relatively low (compared with Western nations) and the narrative of the two-parent family continues to be idealised. With divorce rates rising steadily and marriage rates in decline, alternative family structures have become a focus point of discussion in a society which is facing a demographic crisis. My research considers how such images reflect and influence contemporary attitudes towards single motherhood and contribute to debates concerning family, parenting and gender.


  • “New Heroines for a New Era? Single Mothers in Contemporary Japanese Television Drama” in Acta Asiatica Varsoviensia, No. 27, Polish Academy of Sciences Centre for Studies of Non-European Countries, Warsaw: 2014
  • "Editorial" in SOAS Journal of Postgraduate Research, No. 6, SOAS, London: 2014


  • "Challenging the Two-Parent Norm? The Representation of Single Mothers in Japanese Television Drama" at Japan Foundation/BAJS Post-Graduate Workshop, Japan Foundation, London, February 2014
  • “Challenging or Upholding the Patriarchy? The Representation of Single Motherhood in 'Juu-yon sai no haha'” at the PhD Workshop on Gender in East Asia, University of Leeds, January 2014
  • “Tsushima Yuko’s ‘Moral Revolution’: Challenging Social Preconceptions of Single Motherhood” at the Joint East Asian Studies Conference, University of Nottingham, September 2013
  • “Redefining Family and Gender Roles: Representations of Single Mothers in Japanese Television Drama” at the Researching Japan in Social Sciences and Humanities Conference, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University, Warsaw, April 2013
  • “Redefining Motherhood in Contemporary Japan: An Examination of Itami Juzo’s Tampopo and A Taxing Woman” at the Japan in Our Futures Conference, ICOSS, University of Sheffield, April 2013


Japan. Gender. Media. Film. Television.