Japan’s Professional Housewives: Postwar Ideal and Present Strains

Tuesday, September 10, 2013
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Fromm Hall 115 - Berman Room
Event Type
Events and Lectures
Elbers, Krysten Cogswell
Center for Pacific Rim

"Japan's 'Professional' Housewives: Postwar Ideal and Present Strains"

A talk by Steven Vogel, Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Center for Japanese Studies, UC Berkeley

Tuesday, September 10, 5:00 p.m. | USF Main Campus, Fromm Hall, Berman Room

The role of the "professional" housewife (sengyou shufu) constrained Japanese women, and yet it empowered them as well. The professional housewife ideal locked women into specified roles regardless of their preferences or abilities; it impeded them from contributing to society in other ways; and it made them feel unworthy if they were not living up to the ideal. But Japan's postwar professional housewives were also the true masters of their home and family; they garnered confidence and security from having a clear role and mission; and they were exceptional mothers to generations of Japanese. Professor Vogel will review the life stories of three ordinary yet extraordinary housewives, and discuss changes in Japanese family life and mental health from the 1950s through the present.



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