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By Yukiko Tanaka

As Japan shifted from an agricultural nation earlier than 1950 to an industrialized state in much less time than the other built state, ladies felt the strain of the shift. Husbands labored longer hours, leaving all of the loved ones chores and baby rearing to their other halves whereas pleasant their responsibilites as company squaddies. The economic climate used to be fueled via a diligent, well-educated, low-paid group, yet gender function department grew to become much more inflexible. loved ones earning rose and development in parts akin to diets, transportation, and rest have been made; sleek home equipment additionally made it attainable for moms to have part-time jobs. yet toxins additionally rose, as did costs, and crowded residing stipulations started to impinge on relations existence. Tanaka, who has spent decades on reflection at her state from an American point of view, examines marriage, motherhood, employment, independence, women's activities, and outdated age for girls in Japan over the past 50 years.

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1 The Yamadas were one of many couples who single-mindedly fulfilled their respective responsibilities during the era of economic expansion. Yamada Yoshiko admitted that she married her husband, nearly three decades earlier through a miai arrangement, because he seemed to be a good provider, ambitious and hard-working. He was indeed committed to his work, making it necessary for Yoshiko to raise three children virtually by herself and to perform all of the expected familial duties, including taking care of her inlaws.

The Japanese fathers' apparent irresponsibility in child support may also reflect a traditional Japanese understanding of the family. While raising an heir, preferably male, is the reason that many Japanese get married and while many still strongly believe that divorce should be avoided for the sake of children, once a marriage is broken, the tie between the children and the noncustodial parent often is viewed as severed. Instead, the extended family of the custodial parent often steps in, feeling responsible.

I was impressed by the size of the conference and by the high quality of the presentations. During the 1980s, Japanese women also began showing a greater interest in issues such as women's independence, social changes, and the political process. Neighborhood community centers often supported at least two or three jishu (autonomous) groups, which were formed by women 42 Contemporary Portraits of Japanese Women themselves, often as the result of a lecture series sponsored by the local government.

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Contemporary Portraits of Japanese Women by Yukiko Tanaka


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