chapter  7
21 Pages

Men and Women

The disparity between the roles, activities and histories of men and women in Japan is as great as, if not greater than, that in any other society. Traditional historiography has concentrated on the activities of men, in Japan as elsewhere.1 To redress the balance even partially it is necessary to acknowledge the part played by Japanese women in activities which are not the object of conventional historical record, to emphasize the fundamental role of women as the cornerstone of domestic life and to outline the changing status and role of women in modern Japan. Over the last century Japanese women have fulfilled an essential role both in the domestic sphere and in the economy, but a growing involvement in all aspects of national life has not always been reflected in a marked advance towards sexual equality as it is perceived in the West.