In Part 1 of this interview, we discussed how the Japanese economy has downshifted, but that assumptions about family structure and job security appear to not yet have adapted. Here, we explore what specific challenges married couples face now, and what are the implications for manhood in Japan. Please read to the end of this brief article for reflection exercises you can try.
I recently interviewed a Japanese man, Jun, who lives and works in Tokyo, about his observations on Japanese culture and shifting gender roles. If you live in the US and are wondering how his perspective could be at all relevant to your own life, then read on. He has a unique perspective in that he went to college in the US (only about 1% of Japanese college students do this), then returned to Japan to work for a multi-national company. One of his hobbies is reading and reflecting on current events and Japan’s history. In this first installment, we explore how economic, political, and cultural factors can influence gender roles at home and work. If you’ve ever felt alienated from or confused by the way your parents raised you, then read on for some fruitful discussion questions that can help deepen your understanding of yourself, your parents, and your own particular social and historical context.