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By Yukiko Tanaka

As Japan shifted from an agricultural nation prior to 1950 to an industrialized state in much less time than the other constructed state, ladies felt the strain of the shift. Husbands labored longer hours, leaving all of the loved ones chores and baby rearing to their better halves whereas pleasurable their responsibilites as company infantrymen. The economic climate used to be fueled via a diligent, well-educated, low-paid crew, yet gender position department turned much more inflexible. family earning rose and development in parts comparable to diets, transportation, and rest have been made; smooth home equipment additionally made it attainable for moms to have part-time jobs. yet pollutants additionally rose, as did costs, and crowded residing stipulations started to impinge on relations existence. Tanaka, who has spent a long time in retrospect at her nation from an American point of view, examines marriage, motherhood, employment, independence, women's events, and previous age for girls in Japan during the last 50 years.

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20 To persist in this 28 Contemporary Portraits of Japanese Women resistance, however, can be quite tricky, as my friend Inoue Haruyo learned. In her first marriage, Haruyo took her husband's family name without question, following common practice. Upon her divorce, she took back her maiden name, as the law then demanded. 21 When Haruyo married a second time, her husband agreed to adopt her surname, Inoue, so that the name of her son by her first marriage (who adopted Haruyo's name upon her divorce) could be the same as that of his parents.

A 1983 government survey, for example, showed that the income of a single-parent family headed by a mother was about half that of a two-parent family; among single-parent families, those headed by divorced mothers had a considerably lower income than those headed by widowed mothers. Divorced mothers are disadvantaged in another way as well. 14 The inequities in the treatment of these two kinds Divorce in Japan 57 of families thus reveal the government's discriminatory attitude toward divorced mothers.

It is from this series that the term kintsuma (shortened from Wives 39 the title) was coined, referring to the more independent or daring housewives of the 1980s. Married women in these television dramas are often presented as having lasting friendships with other women, which almost never occurred in earlier dramas. Four central characters in "Falling in Love" (a part of For Friday's Wives), for example, are good friends who have maintained contact since their graduation from junior college. Of the four major characters in "Falling in Love," only one woman, who lives with her family and her mother-in-law, fits the traditional mold; the others include a divorced woman running a bistro and raising a son, a woman married but separated from her husband, who has been transferred to another city, and a single working woman.

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