Womens'S Roles In Japan

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Shamelle Ingram Women and Work in Japan (Bardsley) December 13, 2008 The Old Meets the New: The Journey of Women’s Roles in Japan Throughout history, gender stratification has been a notable as well as a natural component of Japanese society. Gender differences have varied over time and among different social classes. Historically, gender inequality has favored men relative to similarly qualified women. The “Good wife, wise mother” was an ideology coined by Nakamura Masanao in 1875 that represented the ideal for womanhood in Japan in the late 1880s and early 1900s. Women were expected to master such domestic skills as sewing and cooking as well as develop the moral and intellectual skills to raise strong, intelligent children as responsible citizens of Japan. Tomo Shikawara, a character in The Waiting Years, best embodies the desired role of a good wife and a wise mother as she orders her family’s needs and wants above her own. Today, to a lesser degree, many of these expectations of Japanese women still exist. However, women such as Hirasku Raichō, an influential feminist, were pioneers in the fight for gender equality and women’s rights. And thus, the plight of the Japanese woman has had a beautifully tumultuous journey. Hiratsuka Raichō was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1886. Educated at the prestigious Ochanomizu Girl’s School and Japan's Women's University, she began rallying very early for women's rights. Throughout most of her life as a controversial figure, she gained iconic status as one of Japan’s most famous feminist. At a young age she vehemently rejected the educational system’s attempt to mold her into a “good wife, wise mother.”She acknowledged boldly that women were not born only to serve men. As the first editor of the trailblazing women’s journal Seitō, Raichō began to call for a women’s spiritual revolution. “And within its
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