Women in Japanese Society: Their Changing Roles Seth Friedman December The place of women in Japanese society provides an interesting blend of illusion and myth.
It is known that the best nations have always been those which concede the greatest amount of liberty to women. This is true of the Barbarians and the Savages as well as the Civilized.
The Japanese, who are the most industrious, the bravest and the most honorable of the Barbarians, are also the least jealous and the most indulgent towards women.
Harper and Brothers,p. And not unnaturally they look to the women of the United States for inspiration and assistance. Temple University Press,p. The four provocative quotations above from the early nineteenth century, the late nineteenth century, the mid-twentieth century, and provide a sampling of western views on this topic.
Init rated Japan as number out of countries.
At the same time, commentators tend to overlook that the United States ranks only Number 20 on the Global Gender Gap Report, hardly stellar in this area. The widespread assumption of many in the United States is that even if things are far from ideal here, they are worse elsewhere.
This assumption stands in the way of appreciating current statistics. The concept is so widespread today that people across the political spectrum continue to assume that this is simply true yet we never ask about the status of men.
Historians of women and gender have challenged these assumptions about the status of women, but their critiques have generally not made their way to a wider audience beyond academia.
The treaties included extraterritoriality, a practice that meant in effect that Japanese law did not apply to westerners residing in Japan. The second moment centers on the aftermath of World War II, when the Allied powers occupied Japan and Japanese women gained the vote in and equal rights in the Initial excitement aside, a period of settlement followed that gave rise to a conservative gender order in the Cold War years, a time of unprecedented economic prosperity.
Japan has faced several decades of economic stagnation and a falling birth rate. Each snapshot includes mention of a key legal document to illustrate some of the major points about the period under discussion.
A caveat—these are only sketches of complex topics—one need only imagine a similar sketch of women in US history over the past years in order to appreciate how this is the case. For that reason, the bibliography contains suggestions for further reading.
My overall goal is to urge us to think comparatively about the situation of women in Japan and to be wary of the large stereotypes that have defined the topic. It ignores class and other variables. To give but one example—some wealthy women in Japan and the west enjoyed various privileges throughout history, particularly when they represented households.
Only after the age of democratic revolutions in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries did elite women in parts of Japan, the United States notably New JerseyFrance, and Habsburg Austro-Hungary to name a few locations actually lose these limited rights, as sociologist John Markoff has demonstrated though Markoff does not address Japan.One of the most profound differences between men and women is the role each plays in reproduction.
Menstruation and gestation have historically influenced and limited the role that women played in society. Download-Theses Mercredi 10 juin The Hardships of Japanese Women and the Changes in the Society's Perspective on Their Role PAGES 4. WORDS 1, View Full Essay.
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