Gender Roles In Japanese Culture

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In the earliest recordings of Japanese history, there were little distinctions between gender, and limited separation between the roles of the two sexes. As time moved along, Japan slowly started to segregate men and women, it created a patriarchal society that women, even to this day, still suffer from. This great divide within the Japanese culture can easily be due to the religious influences of China and other Eastern cultures. With the introduction of Buddhism and Confucianism to Japan, along with the hierarchical standards that they teach, Japan’s treatment of women went from equal to men to subordinate to them. Essentially, it is the religious values and traditions that have been so greatly incorporated into Japan’s culture and ideology …show more content…
It was a fight to survive, and both genders were equally necessary for that task. Even with the rise of Queen Himiko, there was little power differences between the genders due to the existence of “co-gendered rulers” (19). In the case of Queen Himiko, she ruled with her “younger brother [whom] assisted her in governing the domain” (19). “Co-gendered governance [was] common among Japan’s early ‘great kings’” and furthered the idea of equality between the two sexes in the early years of Japan (19). But even with the co-gendered ruling that existed, it was Himiko that was recognized as the true ruler. This is likely due to Queen Himiko’s connection to the deities that ruled the land. This spiritual connection to the deities that she possessed was thought to maintain peace in the land and showed “that women such as Hamiko fulfilled sacred duties for the Wa realm” (23). The importance placed on the religious incorporation into Japanese early system of governance is a continued pattern throughout Japanese history, and with “increasing ties to East Asia translated into more male definitions of kingship” (23). These ties were solidified through many different ways with one of the most important being Prince Shotoku’s introduction of Buddhist and Confucianism values to Japanese Governance. Both of these religions deem women “impure” and …show more content…
With The increased spread of Buddhist and Confucian values “that regulated women to a subordinate position[s]” women saw a sudden stripping of many of their rights (131). Women of this time period were “transformed from people who could have property to people that both were and could have property” as shown through the handling of rape cases where there was more emphasis placed on the “mediation of property transmission and the maintenance of social order, rather than the individual justice for women” which “demonstrates that women had come to serve as property, or something that could be vandalized” (56, 57). The ideas that women are nothing more than property of men is further emphasized through the practice of fathers selling their daughters to bordellos. “Principally, it related to the place of women in early modern Japan’s patrilinear order, wherein young men, not women, continued family lines and paid respect to ancestral deities” which additionally deprived women of status. (130). Marriages of this time period also changed for women, shifting for the visitation patterns seen in the Heian era to that of co-residence. This Change in familial structure placed women below their husbands and made the wife’s primary duty to give birth to a son and to be subservient to

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