Anne-Stine Johnsbråten's photo book Good Wife, Wise Mother borrows the title from the Japanese term ry-sai-kenbo, a modern term for the female role that emerged during the Meiji period (1868–1912) according to the article "The Good Wife and Wise Mother" by Shizuko, Koyama and Sylvain in the US-Japan Women's Journal (1994). During the Meiji period, Japanese society opened up to the West, with the aim of promoting industrialization and technological development. This was to pave the way for Japan's economic growth after the First World War and mobilize those who worked in agriculture to take other jobs in office and trade in a more modern Japan.
Japan's miraculous economic growth promoted a gender-based division of labor, which was very different from pre-industrial times, when women and men performed largely the same tasks. The author Silvia Federici has a similar point when she in the book Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation (2004) write about a Europe before the 1600th century, where both men and women worked in the field, "women's domestic chores were more valued", and men and women "had the same social conditions".
The gender-segregated working life arose when women's "unpaid work and reproductive work" became subject to the reproduction and growth of the labor force. In Japan, male office workers earned enough money to support both their wives and children, and women were delegated to reproduction, child rearing, and housework. In this context, we can say that Japan's economic growth created an unequal gender distribution in the labor market.
Economic growth in Japan continued throughout the 1900th century, until the crash on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1990.
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