chapter  7
17 Pages

Creating corporate warriors: the “salaryman” and masculinity in Japan RO MIT DA SGUP TA

When I ask students in the Japanese studies courses I teach at an Australian university about their image of the “typical” Japanese male, I am invariably presented with the figure of the “salaryman” [sarariiman in Japanese], or kigyô senshi [“corporate warrior”] – the “everyman” of Japan who through the decades of “Japan Inc” bore the Japanese economy on his shoulders, and who is increasingly seen today as the victim of the same economy. The figure of the salaryman conjures up a mental picture of a neatly groomed, middle-aged, grey-suited, briefcase-carrying, white-collar male office worker who leaves his home in the suburbs early each morning, commutes in an overcrowded train to some faceless downtown office block, and ends the day by lurching drunkenly back to the suburbs on the last train after a drinking session with colleagues or clients.