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The place of women in Japanese society provides an interesting blend of illusion and myth. There are two distinct Japanese societies - public and private.

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Presentation on theme: "The place of women in Japanese society provides an interesting blend of illusion and myth. There are two distinct Japanese societies - public and private."— Presentation transcript:


2 The place of women in Japanese society provides an interesting blend of illusion and myth. There are two distinct Japanese societies - public and private. The popular Western image of the subservient Japanese woman is real, it is however, only an image. In their private family role, women quite often dominate the male members of the household. Judged by Western standards, the women of Japan are unusually dedicated to their families. The current position of women in Japanese society can be attributed to the vestiges of two old philosophies - Confucianism, and Samurai based feudalism. These influences are still strong, however in spite of these influences the public role of women has changed markedly since the beginning of World War II.

3 A housewife attending to the household duties that are set for her. During Traditional Japan (?-1920), a Japanese womans place was mainly in her familys household, usually tending to the duties of keeping a proper household. A Japanese womans main focus once she is married is to take care of her husband and her children, attending to each ones needs, only to rest when these duties were properly taken care of. A woman was not allowed to roam the public without a servant, only to walk in her familys estate, only to continue to work in the shadows of her husband and sons, to work obediently, to speak when spoken to, to represent her familys respect and gratitude. A woman was expected to follow the rules that had been followed by each passing down Japanese tradition; and individuality was not at all promoted among the woman class.

4 The proper clothing for Japanese woman was a kimono with large sleeves, signifying the female gender. In the spring, bright colors and spring floral patterned Japanese clothing is worn. In autumn, Japanese clothes with fall colors and fall patterns are worn. Japanese clothing designs may include chrysanthemums or maple leaves. In the winter, especially near the holidays, Japanese clothing with patterns and designs such as the bamboo, pine trees or plum blossoms or worn for they signify good luck and prosperity. The fabric of the Japanese clothing also plays a role in the seasons. In the summer, cotton clothes are worn whereas in the fall and winter, heavier or lined clothing is worn. Customarily, woven patterns, dyed clothing and repetitive patterns are considered informal Japanese clothing. Examples of traditional informal Japanese clothing are; cotton yukata, woven cotton haori and dyed ikat kimono. These types of Japanese clothes would be used as daily wear, for bath houses or for informal friend and family visits. Formal Japanese clothing normally takes on either of two characteristics; very elaborate designs or a simple elegant designs. A few examples of elaborate designed Japanese clothes worn for an event are uchikake wedding kimono and festive happi coats. The more elegant designs, subdued colors or solid pattern formal Japanese clothes would be worn for paying formal visits, funerals or by married women for weddings or formal functions.

5 Women, like their ancestors and past generations, tried to be a representative to their future generations. As an older sister would act like a role model to her young sister, so did these woman as the strived to keep the Japanese woman tradition alive among younger minds. These actions became a huge necessity after World War II in 1945, when Western influence arrived in Japan and took the minds especially of the young people. These people were known as Katsutori members; these people dressed in Western clothing, listened to Western music, and had a tendency to rebel against ancient Japanese tradition. Yet, this culture slipped through the cracks of the barrier that the Japanese built up against other outsider influence and the start of modern Japanese rose before their eyes.

6 Among the very few Japanese young women allowed to attend a school. Women's educational opportunities have increased in the twentieth century. Among new workers in 1989, 37 % of women had received education beyond upper-secondary school, compared with 43 % of men, but most women had received their postsecondary education in junior colleges and technical schools rather than in universities and graduate schools (see Education in Japan)In 1990 approximately 50 % of all women over fifteen years of age participated in the paid labor force. At that time, two major changes in the female work force were under way. The first was a move away from household-based employment. Peasant women and those from merchant and artisan families had always worked. With self- employment becoming less common, though, the more usual pattern was separation of home and workplace, creating new problems of child care, care of the elderly, and housekeeping responsibilities.

7 As stated before, a Japanese womans place was within her household and among her family. Yet, some women tried to pursue jobs outside of the house and changing the stay-home mother process. A common employment pattern for a Japanese woman is to leave a job once she is married or has children, and for a woman to begin or return to work after her kids get older: a quit-and-return pattern. When presented with several choices of female work patterns, a majority of the respondents (male and female) to a 1987 survey chose the quit-and-return pattern as the most acceptable for women. Although some women managed to find a job outside of the household, the key point in her life would remain the same as previous women before her; to raise a family first. This is a sign that tradition still remains within the mind of the average Japanese woman.

8 A couple hundred years later…

9 Today, the modern Japanese woman is given far more rights then in the past; women are able to take jobs that long ago would be considered a mans job, rights of education and to attend a college or university, and the basic rights that U.S. women have today. Without the Western influence, most women would continue to stay in the safety of her own home and unable to expanding their priorities and education. Now the modern Japanese woman is able to go out and seek out what is most satisfying to her, rather what seems appropriate for others.

10 The End

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