Role of Japanese Women: Traditional and Contemporary Essay example

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Gender equality in Asia has long been an interesting but challenging study of many researchers. The developed and prosperous country Japan also holds a rich history of gender revolution led by women. Regarding the changing roles of Japanese women in family and the society discussed by many researchers, this essay analyses and compares traditional and modern Japanese women through two popular cultural texts: the television drama Oshin (1983-1984) and the talk show “Culture shift in Japan” (2007) of Everywoman program by AIJazeera English.
Traditional Japanese women have long been considered subservient, dedicated and loyal to their families. They endured miserable lives in silence as their lots but still maintained perseverance and
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She tried many jobs until she reunited with her husband then became the owner of a supermarket chain and raised her own children. Oshin represents traditional Japanese women who always sacrifice for the family and be resilient towards life’s obstacles. Oshin’s eventful life sets against a backdrop of three important periods of Japanese history: Meiji (1868-1912), Taisho (1912-1925) and Showa (1925-1988) (Mulhern, 1994, p.98). Mulhern also commented that Oshin drama is an ambitious attempt to learn about problems of contemporary Japanese women in socio-historical perspectives.
Traditional Japanese women have experienced injustice in many aspects of life, from family to the society. Marriage used to be a strong social pressure on Japanese women, rather than their personal decisions. According to Fanselow and Kameda (1995), Japanese women were urged to marry within the “marriageable age”; otherwise they would be considered “unsold goods”. They explained that it was difficult for Japanese women to obtain economic independence; therefore they need to marry to ensure financial and social security. As a result, many young women rushed into marriage without any concern about their partners’ suitability. They married through matchmaking service called miai, Tanaka (1995) presented. He said at that time, Japanese people believed that conjugal love would…