Understanding the changing picture of social relationships and well-being:  A collaborative research network between UK and Japan on Social relationships and wellbeing across Ageing Nations (UK-Japan SWAN)

The UK-Japan SWAN research network project seeks to establish new evidence on what it takes to help people age healthily and happily.  By comparing the roles of social and cultural participation in promoting the physical and mental wellbeing of people living in the UK and Japan, the project hopes to promote new conversations and collaborations that will help tackle pressing issues such as loneliness and social isolation.

The research team is making use of data from 4 longitudinal studies to investigate the differences and similarities between the two countries. A longer term goal is to create a rich and useful new dataset which can also be used by other researchers. A range of other useful resources are also planned and there will be opportunities to network and collaborate in the future.

The research is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and involves researchers from University College London, University of Manchester and the Royal College of Music. It is also part of the wider SOCCAH network, a community of researchers who are interested in looking at social relationships, loneliness, culture and their impact on physical and mental health.


English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA)

UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS)

Japanese Study of Ageing and Retirement (JSTAR)

Japanese Study on Stratification, Health, Income, and Neighbourhood (JSHINE)

Research team

  • Dr Noriko Cable, ESRC International Centre for Lifecourse Studies, UCL
  • Professor Tarani Chandola, University of Manchester and ESRC International Centre for Lifecourse Studies, UCL
  • Dr Ula Tymoszuk, Centre for Performance Science (a partnership between the Royal College of Music and Imperial College London)
  • Professor Kaori Honjo, Osaka Medical University
  • Professor Hideki Hashimoto, University of Tokyo


  • Dr Brian Beach, International Longevity Centre, UK
  • SOCCAH Network


Methods Symposium, Tokyo, Japan – Keynote from Professor Tarani Chandola – Measurement in cross-national comparative research – download presentation