chapter  1
19 Pages

Introduction

ByJAMES E . ROBERSON AND NOBUE SUZUKI

In 1963, Ezra Vogel described the then newly (re)emerging lifestyle of Japan’s ‘new middle class’, introducing Western readers to ‘the salaryman’, white-collar workers in large corporations and government bureaucracies (1971/1963: 5). Vogel portrayed the salaryman in terms of economic security, social status and sex role division. For Japanese people in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the salaryman represented a ‘bright new life’ (ibid.: 9). ‘The young Japanese girl [sic] hopes to marry a salary man’, Vogel (ibid.) wrote, while ‘the new order of the salary man is not only a way of life for people in large organizations, but a model affecting the life of others’ (ibid.: 268). Over thirty years later, Fujimura-Fanselow and Kameda describe the image of the typical Japanese man, held by people both inside and outside Japan, as that of

a workaholic who toils long hours for Mitsubishi or Sony or some other large corporation, goes out drinking with his fellow workers or clients after work and plays golf with them on weekends, and rarely spends much time at home with his wife and children, much less does anything around the house, such as cleaning or changing diapers.