Real Japanese Essays

The diverse instructors, all creative artists with extensive teaching and professional experiences, provided attentive mentorship to each student. They engaged in their daily assignments enthusiastically with a tireless, hard-working attitude in order to make the most of their learning opportunities.

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The 127 million Japanese live in households as varied as can be found in America.

For example, there is a growing number of single occupant households, e.g., students living away from home or transferees who have moved out of the family home because of temporary job changes.

While many American students will enjoy having a widowed grandmother live with their family for a while, it is not the expected norm that it is in Japan. Whereas in America the grandmother typically "goes" to live with the family of one of her children, in Japan the expectation is that one of the children with family will live in the grandmother's house, i.e., in the natal home. Living in the natal home with the grandparents stands as a strong symbol of the intergenerational continuity of the stem family line, continuing from the founding ancestor to the living members of the family to an infinite number of generations in the future.

Multiple generation households, for example the great-grandparents, the grandparents, the young parents, and the small children, reflect an important feature of the concept of "the Japanese family," even though its expression in actual living arrangements, i.e., the household, has declined in the post-war years.

Yet, only 71% of women with a university degree are employed, compared to 90% of men.

Despite overall wealth improvement, Japan’s women’s employment situation still extraordinarily behind the average for developed nations.Our concept is to offer readers living outside Japan the chance to read what the younger Japanese generation have written through translated versions. As Japan slides away from the status of an economic superpower, we believe that readers can feel the real and life sized modern Japan depicted by our younger generation."The Japanese family" is as diverse and elusive as "the American family," or "the Italian family," or "the Jewish family," or whatever stereotypical family we can imagine.The figure represents an actual family in the Mizusawa area of Northeast Japan, the Satō family (a pseudonym).The Satōs are close friends of the author of this article, since the days when the now great-grandfather was the new young head of his family and household forty-five years ago.On the last day of the workshop, the students excitingly stated, “I’ve never received such compliments in my life.Until now, I had belived that there was no strength within me.“ And, “This great experience gave me a totally new perspective.” Their enthusiasm faded, however, when they discussed their next steps: “After going back to Japan and graduating from school, how can I live? “Any job offers posted in our school as an all-female college were simply office workers positions,” they told me.”Once I’ve setteled as an office worker like many women in Japan before me, I will be forced to repeat boring tasks, staying in the same position until I quit.My life will almost end there.” Even though they felt fully-charged via their eye-opening-cultural exchanges with the workshop mentors, there seemed to be no place in their Japan where they could utilize their passion and vision.Nowadays, the double-income household model struggles to become a new standard in society, especially in metropolitan areas, but women’s overall employment situation has not dramatically changed.The OECD also reports that Japan is the worst country regarding wage penalty for women having children: once they leave the workplace on maternity leave, women are often not allowed to return to the same positions, and are typically forced to work in low paying, part-time alternatives.


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