Global Society and Gender
J.F. Oberlin University
Area of Study
Taught In English
Host University Units4 - 4
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units0 - 0
Hours & Credits
Do you want to learn and better understand people who constitute half of the population in Japan? Yes, they are Japanese women. To look at Japan from the women’s standpoint gives you deeper understandings of Japanese history, family, marriage, and human relationships. Japanese women are found to be one of the major topics of interest among the observers and scholars of Japan around the world. Do you know that ancient Japan was probably one of the most gender equal societies in the world? But today, the status of Japanese women, especially in the occupational world, is considerably behind compared with other developed countries and some Asian countries. What happened to the Japanese women and is happening to them now? And how are Japanese women portrayed in the media both domestic and overseas? This course will examine the changing positions of women in Japanese society from ancient times to the present, and analyze the social and cultural factors influencing the life of today’s Japanese women, as well as critical issues and challenges they are facing in 21st century Japan (e.g. the declining birthrate). Furthermore, movies which describe Japanese women in different ways will be shown for discussion (and enjoyment, of course.).
The course will be divided primarily into three parts:
(1) Examination of women’s role and status in Japan throughout its history,
(2) Contemporary Japanese women’s social environment and issues they face in various areas of their life, including socialization, marriage & family, and work,
(3) student’s independent research project on Japanese women. (Any aspect/topic of women in Japan which students take interest in will be developed into a research paper with a close consultation with the instructor.)
The class is inherently comparative: students are encouraged to be reflective of the women’s situations in their own countries.