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Japanese woman: discrimination - or?

Features of the relationship of the sexes in the Land of the Rising Sun studied EastRussia

Many cultures have their own unique characteristics that make them famous. This and the restraint of the British, and the courtesy of the French, and the assertiveness of the Americans. However, by no means all of the widely known cultures can be described by one universal definition. These include Japan, a country of responsible workers in our time and militant samurai and refined geishas in the past. Naturally, one could ask a question about the evolution that, in general, Japan has gone from past to present. But no less, and perhaps even more interesting, is another problem: the relationship between the Japanese and Japanese women, both in the course of history and in the modern world.

Japanese woman: discrimination - or?

We can safely say that until about the end of the XNUMXth and the beginning of the XNUMXth centuries, the position of women in Japan was at a very high level: they had the same rights as men in matters of marriage, labor, and even inheritance of property, albeit with some reservations. The reasons for this lay partly in the Shinto religion - after all, the eight million deities living in Japan were ruled by the supreme goddess Amaterasu - partly in the fact that the privileged class during the Nara and Heian periods (VIII-XII) were not close warriors of the ruler, but civil servants.

In the 12th century, the samurai began to strengthen as a class, which contributed to the formation of the military elite and the weakening of the bureaucracy. In addition, Buddhism, which postulated the superiority of men over women, finally became part of Japanese culture. All this led to a decrease in the role of women in the social and labor spheres.

This tendency reached its apogee by the end of the 16th - early 17th centuries. At the same time, Confucianism became the official religion of the Tokugawa Shogunate, ordering a woman to obey her father in childhood, her husband in maturity and her son in old age. This determined the subordinate position of the woman in the ruling class, its proper place. She was supposed to be an elegant, caring, responsible, quiet and submissive housewife - an ornament to her father or husband. And she, deprived of the right to self-determination, took this look. And the same look subsequently affected the image of other Japanese women.

But here it is also necessary to mention that a similar state of affairs was observed exclusively in samurai families, while in all other estates the position of women was not so depressing. So, despite the influence of Buddhism, women of other castes in Japan of that time retained considerable rights: for peasants and artisans, for example, marriages were much more often by the consent of the bride and groom themselves. Although in the families of these castes, the position of each family member was differentiated, and women occupied a different, lower position than men.

This state of affairs persisted until the end of the 19th century, before the Meiji Restoration reforms. One of the consequences of the accompanying changes was the elimination of caste boundaries, which until then had not only established a hierarchy of subordination to the military elite, but also served as a kind of guarantee for the preservation of the customs and traditions of each social stratum. Now, in the Meiji era, samurai values ​​and customs began to permeate the whole society completely.

So already for all women the role of a housewife, a kind of prisoner of their own home, was fixed - discrimination, the former feature of only one caste became the lot of all. And with the ever-increasing militarization of the Japanese empire, it became clear what kind of place befits a Japanese woman in a state of this kind. You can even make the assumption that it was during this period that more polite and respectful forms of addressing women to men and more familiar - men to women, were finally established.

All of this lasted until the end of the Second World War, when the losing Japan was forced to accept gender equality in the 1946 Constitution, and in the 1947 year, it adopted amendments to the Civil Code, according to which women received the same legal rights and obligations in all areas of life and men. Confirmation of these provisions was the Bill of Equal Opportunities 1986 year.

However, the discrimination inherited from militarized Japan did not disappear to the end: there are still a large number of problems in the labor and household spheres of life. It is harder for a woman to get a job as a whole, and even harder to get it under the same conditions as a man. In the domestic sphere, a significant part of the household duties lies with a woman, even if she and the man work. Caring for children in the family falls entirely on the shoulders of the wife, since fathers of families often stay up late at work. And at times husbands do not see their relatives for weeks due to the peculiarities of Japanese labor policy: raising in a number of Japanese companies is not only acquiring new powers, but also “moving” to another place of work, often even to another province.


Generally, if we touch on the family issue, here we can note several trends characteristic of Japan.

First, throughout the 20th century, there was a gradual decline in families of the traditional type and the growth of families of the nuclear type. The same trend holds true for this century. In addition, it should be noted that the number of love marriages based on personal affection is gradually, albeit slowly. And this growth is gradually crowding out a marriage of convenience, which fastened families rather than hearts.

Secondly, there is a gradual aging of the nation in connection with the later marriage. And if for a girl at the end of the 20th century, the average age of marriage was about twenty years, then already in the zero years of the XXI century he approached the mark of thirty years. Accordingly, the birth of children accounts for approximately thirty two - thirty four years.

Thirdly, marriage itself has ceased to be mandatory, even the pressure from society on women in this regard has become much less. And the woman who chose career growth rather than the role of the housewife is no longer surprising, although the number of the latter is still very high. Most likely, this is partly due also to the fact that if for a man the creation of a family is a certain fulfillment of duty towards his parents, which he almost does not fulfill after the wedding, then for a woman this is a much more serious step. After all, for her the question arises: either the household or career.

Fourthly, women who have rejected their career growth quite often become so-called Kyoku Ma, women for whom helping children in their development becomes the top priority. Their motherhood makes life for them “ikigai”, meaningful, and they correlate the subsequent periods of their life with the periods of children's life: kindergarten, school, university.

However, not everything is as clear as one might think. Despite the rejection of a career, many housewives still work at least part of their motherhood. Temporary hiring and part-time work is a common type of employment for those married women who, although they prefer family to work, still do not limit their circle of interests to domestic chores only.

There is also another interesting feature of the family relationship between a husband and wife: despite the fact that in the overwhelming majority of cases it is the man who provides for the family, the wife manages the budget of this institution. There are even families where the man’s salary is immediately transferred to his spouse’s bank account, making him in the economic sphere actually a hostage of his wife’s decisions.


This ambiguity in the relationship between men and women is also present in other areas, forming discrimination not only in relation to women, but also to men.

For women, this is most often a problem with getting a job. While problems can be in many cases. It is harder for women to get a job in general, and a decent job in particular. But even with a decent place, it is possible that the salary will be paid less than a man in a similar position. Also, women are often forced instead of taking maternity leave to retire on their own. In other words, discrimination against Japanese women most often lies in the labor sphere, which, given their increased political and trade union activity, is perceived by them as extremely painful.

Harassment of men concerns other areas. Just as there are carriages in the metro exclusively for women, there are also cafes for women only, and even libraries. There are also serious differences in the payment of certain services: in some cases, medicine and some goods are more expensive for men than for women. In addition, there are so-called “Lady's Day” in public places, when women get big discounts, for example, on some days, movie tickets for Japanese women cost almost twice as much as the normal price. For men, there is no such service.

On the basis of all this, it can be concluded that each sex is subjected to certain harassment, but in different spheres of life, as a result of which both men and women acquire special “rights” and “fines” determining their social reality.

If we summarize both discrimination and labor differentiation in the context of the history of sexual relationships in the territory of present-day Japan, then it can be understood that the current state of affairs — the political and social activity of women, the aging of a nation, and the growth of nuclear families — is a consequence of the historical processes and, on the other hand, a cultural phenomenon in which the role of women, initially high, was gradually reduced to a minimum. Now, on the contrary, the fair sex had the opportunity to show civic activity, despite the outward submission, manifested in the etiquette and features of speech.
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