We aim to contribute to society by:
- Providing useful information and education for single parent families, remarried families with children, and people who are engaged in supporting family issues.
- Engaging in supportive activities for parenting issues raised by the current diversity in family lifestyles.
- Creating a network for peer support for children and their parents regardless of age or gender.
Our core activities are:
- Providing assistance and peer support for single-parent families
- Developing better community recognition, awareness and acceptance of stepfamilies
- Supporting/Promoting activities that contribute to the sound and healthy upbringing of children who have experienced parental death or divorce.
M-Step was initially established (in April 2011 in Mitaka city, Tokyo) as a volunteer organization by people who were/are in a stepfamily. (A stepfamily is a family where at least one parent has a child/children from a previous relationship.) As of November 2015, we are the first and only non-profit organization that supports single-parent families and stepfamilies in Japan (although there are other volunteer groups that also cover the same issues).
The situation of social support and awareness of stepfamilies in Japan is far behind other developed nations, and a lot of people in Japan do not even know the word “stepfamily”. M-Step’s Chairperson, Terue Shinkawa, is working to raise awareness of the issues faced by single-parent families and stepfamilies and to provide support.
From our interactions with parents and children in our community, M-Step learned that there are a lot of mothers who cannot share their problems with anyone and felt lonely because they couldn’t find a place where they could talk about their worries and problems. Our aim is for our society to understand the issues those stepfamilies have and to provide the necessary support. We also aim to provide support to single parents in order to improve their living conditions.
It is said that there are 1.2 million single-parent families in Japan that are potential stepfamilies, and 1 in 4 marriages in Japan involve a remarriage (i.e. a new marriage after divorce/death). Although the number of stepfamilies is certainly increasing, there has not yet been a comprehensive survey data concerning households and stepfamilies in Japan.Many people may believe that stepfamilies are more or less the same as families formed from a first marriage. However, remarried couples with children (stepfamilies) face a lot of unique challenges compared to traditional families. Some examples include: a sense of loss after a divorce or the death of a previous spouse; relationships with ex-partners, and the parenting of stepchildren. There are also issues involved with having a bigger family, such as parenting and financial burdens, and house chores. Challenges vary from stepfamily to stepfamily, but many people are trying hard to construct a new family despite these issues.
<To people who have accessed our site from outside Japan>
Thank you for visiting M-Step’s website. We are the first and only non-profit organization that supports stepfamilies in Japan (as of November 2015), although there are other volunteer groups that support the same issue.
We aim to raise awareness about stepfamilies in Japan and to make our society a comfortable place for them. To achieve this goal, we would be happy to communicate and interact with people who are engaged in supporting stepfamilies or who are members of a stepfamily from abroad.
We have staff that speaks English, so please do not hesitate to contact us. We sincerely hope that the exchange of information would be of mutual benefit.