Although I had some prior knowledge on the gender roles in Japanese culture, I did not know the full details of the matter until I researched a little. A great deal of what I read confirmed what I had previously thought, until I read a few articles about how women typically leave the workforce after marriage or during pregnancy and are considered part-time workers (Kumar, 2011). Because of this tendency, wage-inequality is a resulting issue that women face in the country (Kumar, 2011).

Although women are becoming more independent in the modern age, gender roles are still prominent throughout the nation (Smith, 2008). Men are still generally considered the bread-winners of a family and call the shots in business, while the women stay at home and take care of the children (Smith 2008). To me, this is somewhat saddening. It is unfortunate that women are still not perceived as entirely equal and it appears that the Japanese are stuck in the "2.5 kids and a dog" mentality that existed in the American 1950's.

Despite the fact that gender roles have been progressively evolving throughout the last century, Japan is still behind other leading countries as far as equality goes. According to an article I read, only 10% of managerial positions are held by women in Japan- paling in comparison to the United States where the percentage is around 43%. I was a little shocked to read this as it further confirmed my idea that women are not seen as equal in Japan. Whereas other countries are slowly progressing towards a balanced workforce, Japan is showing that it believes women are incapable of leading businesses and companies.
A Japanese house wife appearing very similar one of the 1950's American lifestyle. ("The Japanese," 2010)
I was further surprised by the results of a study that was published several years ago. The study stated that only around 18.5% of males believed that family life was important, 40.2% of men believed work was important, and only 19.5% believed both were equally important ("Gender roles clearly," 2007). This shows that the average Japanese male has a tendency to be work-oriented, and is less likely to focus on family time. Again, this saddens me to hear as it puts a lot of the burden on the women to support the family at home and puts children at risk of growing up with only a single caring parent.

In summary, Japan, while evolving steadily, still has clearly defined gender roles. Despite a modern age where equality is on the rise, archaic mindsets still plague that nation and women are not seen as entirely similar to their male counterparts.


Kumar, V. (2011, June 26). Japanese views on gender roles. Retrieved from

Smith, J. (2008, April 28). Japanese views on gender roles. Retrieved from

(2010). The japanese housewife. (2010). [Print Photo]. Retrieved from
2/12/2013 11:08:01 pm

Work is very important to Japanese men from what I saw during my visit -- they work many hours. I am curious about the birth rate for the country now -- they have a "graying" population with not as many young people in the country.

Jesse Kephart
2/13/2013 05:24:12 am

You are correct. As I will show in the future assignments, Japan's population has grown increasingly older, while not as many young people reside in the country.

11/12/2013 07:07:39 am

I agree.

10/9/2020 07:08:04 pm

They're too busy working in Japan and Korea to have children! They need to be more like Sweden, Indonesia, Jamaica and Germany

Amanda Eng
4/15/2013 01:37:53 pm

I think that it is sad that women are seen as incapable of being leaders in Japan. And I was wondering if there are any efforts being made by the women in order to have more equality.

4/20/2013 09:45:16 am

I think that its sad that the women of Japan are not viewed or treated as complete equals to men. Also the fact that only 8.5% of males believe that family life is important, while 40.2% of men believed work is important is frightening!

3/4/2014 09:12:01 pm

I'm writing an essay on the gender roles in Japanese families for a college paper and I was wondering if women worked at all or even in pink-collar jobs, such as nursing.

5/1/2015 05:13:40 am

I don't see any of this on no other website


Leave a Reply.

    Jesse Kephart

    Attending Arizona State University. Likes Jello. Dislikes dirty laundry.


    April 2013
    March 2013
    February 2013



    Heading Photo Source: (2012). Japan flag. (2012). [Web Photo]. Retrieved from