Contemporary Portraits of Japanese Women by Yukiko Tanaka

By Yukiko Tanaka

As Japan shifted from an agricultural state ahead of 1950 to an industrialized kingdom in much less time than the other built nation, ladies felt the strain of the shift. Husbands labored longer hours, leaving the entire loved ones chores and baby rearing to their other halves whereas pleasurable their responsibilites as company squaddies. The economic system was once fueled through a diligent, well-educated, low-paid team, yet gender position department turned much more inflexible. family earning rose and development in parts reminiscent of diets, transportation, and relaxation have been made; sleek home equipment additionally made it attainable for moms to have part-time jobs. yet pollutants additionally rose, as did costs, and crowded residing stipulations started to impinge on family members lifestyles. Tanaka, who has spent decades in retrospect at her kingdom from an American viewpoint, examines marriage, motherhood, employment, independence, women's hobbies, and previous age for ladies in Japan over the past 50 years.

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Many community centers that have been built and run by local governments offer adult education classes in such diverse subjects as traditional art and crafts, literature, psychology, and physical exercise. As a part of an effort to improve their image in the "Age of Women," businesses also encourage women to be active outside the home by sponsoring various cultural and community activities. The major newspapers have daily announcements of seminars, meetings, and special events of all sorts, many of which are geared toward homemakers.

Fukuda has set her own conditions for agreeing to marriage, and these include that she be able to continue working, that her husband accept the frequent traveling required by her job, and that she not live with his parents. She found a man who agreed to these conditions, but, when his parents insisted and he concurred that she should quit working when she had a child, she broke off the engagement. At her parents' urging, Fukuda has met with three prospective suitors since then, but she has yet to find a man who will marry her and accept all of her conditions.

Separation followed, and, eventually, divorce. Midori's major dissatisfaction centered on not being able to enjoy life as she had before marriage. Noboru felt that he should have both the right to work as he wanted and the freedom to spend time away from his family. He was not really interested in the woman sitting next to him at the bar. Many divorces that take place within the first years of marriage are similar to the case of Midori and Noboru. The Divorce in Japan 49 partners do not want to give up the freedom and privileges they had enjoyed prior to marriage.

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