Philobiblon: A (small) Japanese revolution

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A (small) Japanese revolution

Japan is one of the worst societies on earth for rigid gender roles, from what I've seen and heard. It is no wonder its birth rate is so low, when women can expect to be left at home with the children while salarymen husbands stay away for 18 hours a day or more. But there are few real opportunities either, for women in the workplace.

So it is pleasantly ironic that the dearth of male births in the imperial family looks set to force a change in the succession law to allow the first empress since 1771. "If the rules are changed, Princess Aiko, Emperor Akihito’s three-year-old granddaughter, could one day become reigning empress."

There could even be a Thai Queen on the throne at the same time, since the succession law there has also been changed. (And in Thailand the whole situation is complicated because there is no rule of primogeniture - the tradition is that a palace coterie conduct something resembling an election.)


Blogger Mapo said...

Ha ha ha.


I think the birthrate is down in Korea too.

I thought gender roles would be the same here as in Japan. However I don't really know enough about them. The young guys I speak to give me the impression it's not that different to the UK. However talking to some older people gives me the impression that they think I need my boyfriend's permission for everything.

10/28/2005 02:03:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

My impression from what I've read is that Korea might be a little better than Japan - if only because there's a strong sense of "get the most out of everybody" in economic terms - but only a little.

10/28/2005 02:54:00 am  

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