"The husband should be outside working; the wife should keep house"
Link - J)
"It is all right for women to continue working, even after they have children"
Link - J)
In both cases, we see the onset of a wave of young fogies, where youngsters in the 20-to-29 years of age cohort have attitudes toward the roles of women, marriage and childrearing resembling those of persons 60 years of age and older, rather than their immediate superiors.
This is a new phenomenon. In previous surveys the youngest cohort has been among the most comfortable with wives working or women staying in the workforce.
Why the sudden reversal? The survey does not ask the respondents why they feel the way they do. I called the cohort the "echo boomers" -- the counterpart of the children of the baby boomers found in population pyramids for the United States. It would probably be better to call the current cohort of 20-to-29 year olds the Bubble Babies -- those born when Japan's rise in GDP and climb up the per capita income ladder were topping out, when families could live comfortably on but a single salary.
The 20-29 age cohort is struggling. In part this is because of the depressed economy, which has reduced the capacity and willingness of companies to hire large numbers of permanent workers.
The youngest cohort may also be struggling due to a lack of education. Today's 20-29 year olds are the first age cohort is to have all its members educated under yutori kyoiku ("easy-going education") system. The lowering of academic requirements and the decrease in the number of class hours may have left this cohort far less prepared for independent life than the cohorts that preceded it.
An aside - the yutori kyoiku reforms were repealed for elementary school children starting in 2002. The last children educated under the loosened system will graduate from high school in 2014. So when you find "strengthening the education system" in a political party's manifesto, the party in question is not really talking about improving education. That train left the station long ago. "Improving education" is a smokescreen for foisting more patriotism and officially traditional mores upon children and breaking the backs of teachers' unions.
As for the role of women in public life, two pictures from yesterday:
President-elect Park Geun-hye celebrating her victory in the South Korean presidential election.
Former Defense Minister Koike Yuriko at an unserious danpatsu event. Koike had sworn she would not cut her hair until the Liberal Democratic Party had retaken power. Yesterday she let 64 friends and supporters take a snippet from her uncharacteristically shoulder-length locks.
The advent of an LDP government is predicted to lead to one improvement in the atmospherics of government: women in prominent cabinet roles. Whereas the purportedly liberal Democratic Party had only token appointments of women--prime minister Kan Naoto's and prime minister Noda Yoshihiko's cabinets having but a single woman in them -- the incoming Abe Shinzo cabinet may have as many as five women members. Koike Yuriko and Takaichi Sanae (one of the rare women to have graduated from the Matsushita Institute of Government and Management) are almost certain to be named to prominent posts.
Conservative parties -- the pathways to power for women in East Asia.
Top photo: Wall Street Journal
Bottom photo: Yomiuri Shimbun