The Identity of Japanese Women
An in-depth examination of the changes in the identity of Japanese women.
This paper looks at the changes that Japanese women have undergone with respect to their identity. It focuses on the changes since the mid – 20th century. It links the historical changes in Japanese society over the past 150 years with the changes in their women’s identity and also looks at social, political, economic and environmental factors that have influenced the identity of Japanese women.
Before 1868, especially under the Tokugawa Shogunate government, Japanese women had no legal personality. They could not own property and were in fact the property of men who could do with them virtually anything they fancied. At that time, they could read and write only hiragana, but business, political and literary materials were written in the more formal kanji which prevented them from sharing the more fulfilling and dignified world of men.