Real Japanese Essays
While many American students will enjoy having a widowed grandmother live with their family for a while, it is not the expected norm that it is in Japan. Whereas in America the grandmother typically "goes" to live with the family of one of her children, in Japan the expectation is that one of the children with family will live in the grandmother's house, i.e., in the natal home. Living in the natal home with the grandparents stands as a strong symbol of the intergenerational continuity of the stem family line, continuing from the founding ancestor to the living members of the family to an infinite number of generations in the future.
Multiple generation households, for example the great-grandparents, the grandparents, the young parents, and the small children, reflect an important feature of the concept of "the Japanese family," even though its expression in actual living arrangements, i.e., the household, has declined in the post-war years.
As a result of this vicious cycle, in a system where seniority is highly rewarded, less than 5 % of company board members are women in Japan.
Also, the harsh wage penalty makes it difficult for single mothers to live without assistance, since their household income is usually not sufficient to make a living with their child(ren).
Our concept is to offer readers living outside Japan the chance to read what the younger Japanese generation have written through translated versions. As Japan slides away from the status of an economic superpower, we believe that readers can feel the real and life sized modern Japan depicted by our younger generation.
Children born of unmarried women account for about one percent of all births, compared to about one-third of all births in the United States.Yet, only 71% of women with a university degree are employed, compared to 90% of men.Despite overall wealth improvement, Japan’s women’s employment situation still extraordinarily behind the average for developed nations.Recently ranked 101 out of 145 nations (just ahead of Swaziland) in gender gap ratings according to the World Economic Forum, Japan is a world loser for gender equality. Japan’s National Tax agency in 2013 reported that the average salary of men is 502 million yen, while women stand at 268 million yen.These gender gap realities are the remains of the “housewives” era that continues to dominate in our culture, a working culture in which companies regard female employees as unreliable in the long run, and thus place women into replaceable positions since women employees tend to quit the workforce upon marriage, pregnancy or with the subsequent tasks of child-raising.The two generation nuclear family consisting of the parents and their unmarried children has become the popular model of the modern family in Japan, as it was in America decades ago.Typically, with the low fertility rate in Japan, these households are relatively small with two, or only one, child living together with the parents.Of course the house itself has been rebuilt, and remodeled, many times in those years.Many years ago in New York, I assisted in a month-long creative workshop for Japanese students from a women’s college in Japan.”Once I’ve setteled as an office worker like many women in Japan before me, I will be forced to repeat boring tasks, staying in the same position until I quit.My life will almost end there.” Even though they felt fully-charged via their eye-opening-cultural exchanges with the workshop mentors, there seemed to be no place in their Japan where they could utilize their passion and vision.