Yearbook Japan, 2019, vol. 48, pp. 77–105
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Transformation of Japanese women’s views on their positions in the family, the economy, and society
Abstract. Throughout the Heisei period, changes both in Japanese women’s individual life, gender equality and changes in economic opportunities for women undoubtedly helped fuel the transformation of their views on family life and motherhood, career-making and on their role in society. To understand these changes, the author analyzed a lot of Japanese sources, and focuses on four points: changes of Japanese women’s views on marriage/family and on child-birth; changes of women’s role in the labor market (in their career opportunities) and in social political life of the country.
Many Japanese women became more educated than they used to be, it can be indicated with increasing numbers of women obtaining university degrees, and therefore gaining access to better jobs, higher incomes and greater nancial independence. It also allows women not only to identify themselves as “wife” and “mother”, but also to invest in education and careers. Thus, the prospect of settling down to married life appears relatively unappealing compared to the possibility of living a “fulfilling” life, leisure activities and high job satisfaction. And the changing labor market conditions not only spurred Japanese women to invest in careers, they also affected the family-formation behavior of women who followed this pathway. Some of these women decided to forgo motherhood entirely; others delayed fertility until they were well established in their careers. So women who chose to build their careers would have to ‘pay the price’ for their success, often by remaining single and childless. The pattern we see today is the result of changes since the 1990s.
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Contents of the issue: Yearbook Japan, 2019, Vol. 48.