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The Cultural and Social Position of Women in Japan

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  1. Introduction
  2. Contemporary Japan?A Review of History
  3. Measuring Women's Progress in Japan
    1. outright discrimination is not tolerated, men have found a myriad of ways to become subversive in their discrimination of women.
    2. Despite the fact that there is ample evidence to suggest that women are still struggling to make progress in Japan, some researchers have argued that women in Japan have made notable headway in recent years.
  4. Have Japanese Women Made Progress?
  5. Conclusion


Images of women from the Far East are often filled with stereotypes of submissive individuals that consistently capitulate to the needs and desires of men. While this image appears to have some accuracy for describing women of the Far East in the early twentieth century, modern day portraits of women from this region of the globe demonstrate that this is no longer the case. After the end of World War II, many of the countries in the Far East saw a rapid period of social and economic growth and development. As a result of these changes, women in the post-war era saw their roles change drastically to meet the needs of new social and economic structures.With the realization that the role of women in post World War II has changed so drastically, there is a clear impetus to examine the roles of women in the Far East to better understand how this process occurred. Using this as a basis for investigation, this research considers the development of women in post World War II Japan. Through a careful consideration of what has been written about changes in the Japanese economy and society, it should be possible to provide a more integral understanding of the ways in which women's roles have changed in the last six decades. Further, by examining the social and economic changes that have taken place during this time, the current role of women in contemporary Japan will be elucidated.

[...] Overall, the evidence that has been presented on the development of women in modern Japan seems to suggest that even though women are a vital part of the economy?and further have made some gains towering improving their position in the workplace?the social structures that mitigate what is acceptable behavior toward women have not changed much. As a direct consequence of this lack of change, women face similar obstacles in the organization as they do in the social domain. The most notable change for women has come with respect to the blatant discrimination of women in the social and workplace environments. [...]

[...] While most Western scholars may be tempted to argue that women in Japan have made very little progress in social and economic development since World War II, it seems reasonable to argue that when the issue is examined from the perspective of Japanese society, women have indeed made notable progress overall. In order to fully understand and appreciate this progress however, the researcher must be willing to frame progress in the context of Japanese history and tradition. Unless the issues are examined through this lens, the true nature of the social and economic advancements made by women cannot be fully understood (Sugihara and Katsurada, 312). [...]

[...] As the country sought to modernize, the toll that this process took on citizens is similar to that which occurred during other industrial revolutions. Wages were low and labor struggled to garner basic rights. Overall the industrial revolution had a powerful impact on the development of society. This is especially apparent when it comes to the gender and social roles of men and women living in Japan during this time period. Tanaka goes on to note that: the beginning of the 1970s, Japan boasted highly developed manufacturing and service industries. [...]

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