On August 12th, Dr.Liz gave us a wonderful lecture on American feminism. I was so surprised with so many cases of harsh reality in today’s digital society,for instance AI’s facial recognition of black females. However, What I would like to focus especially on in this journal are two things as follows. The first thing is her saying “Japanese are more feminists than Americans”. Second, I would like to consider the paradox that “the more technology proceeds, the more household tasks females are forced to do”.
First, Dr.Liz said that Japanese females are, in a sense, more feminists than Americans. This is a paradoxical expression; she said that Japanese women are so expected to engage in households, compared with the U.S., that they are no longer willing to get married. This leads the whole society to suffer from a low fertility rate, which is one of the biggest social issues in Japan.
To be frank with you, I was not surprised by Dr. Litz’s statement as above because I have learned the almost same expression in “The History of Development of Japanese Capitalism”(Noro, Eitaro). In this book, the author points out that because of a series of great famines in the early 19th century and Shogunate’s heavy tax, people these days were not afford to have and bringing up their children, which made the society experience low fertility. The number of people paying taxes to Shogunate decreasing, Their power of ruling declined and finally, in 1868, Tokugawa Shogunate was collapsed. The author defines this phenomenon as “people’s negative attack on society”. This example clearly illustrates that “negative attack” can break even a social resume.
Backing on the lecture, based on that, I regard the meaning of “Exploring new system” as an inevitable task;in order to preserve our contemporary society and not society to be like Shogunate in the 19th century. This is what I would like to mention as the first point.
Second, the lecturer stated that technological advances ironically reinforce household labor for the woman. Relating to this analysis, I try to capture the reality of gender inequality in Japan. I suppose that household labor is one of the most labor-intensive sectors, laid the foundation in the 18th century. Dr.Hayami of Keio University coined the notion of “Industrious Revolution”, which means that the Japanese economy overcame shortcomings of natural resources by making the industrial system more labor-intensive. For Example, Japanese cultivated sterile lands with almost all of the local residents. So, I think it was the 18th century that women’s household labor became intense. For instance, they spent much time to find scarce food resources in a market very far away, and prepared dishes with limited technologies. In this way, our ancestors of Japan has generated the “common knowledge” that woman household labor should be intensive.
Even after great technological advances through the 20th century to present, this traditional “common knowledge” can not be easily changed. Rather, the society still requires the woman to be engaged in labor-intensive households with contemporary technologies, with almost as same hours as our ancestors did. That is my solution to the proposition.