Thanks for all your comments on this very interesting and important topic. I think one big problem that is very difficult for Westerners (including Kattie) to understand is the degree to which Japanese people give priority to work over everything else. It’s the difference between “working to live” and “living to work.”
I was particularly interested to read the comments about temporary workers. I don’t know if you are aware of this, but the government is changing the employment law from this April. Under the new rules, any company who employs someone on a temporary contract for more than five years will have to offer that person permanent employment. (I know about this because it will also apply to part-time university teachers, so it was announced in the 教授会 the other day.)
I can see what the government are trying to do with this policy, but of course, it will not work. In fact, it will probably have a very negative effect on workers, as they will either be fired or just moved to a “kogaisha” at the end of their fourth year of employment. In other words, they will have even less job security than they have now. To be honest, I can’t blame young Japanese people for not wanting to get married or have children.
The biggest problem of the declining population is that the majority of voters are old people. People being people, we vote for what we think will be best for us personally, not what will be best for the long-term future of the country. In both the UK and Japan, I think the older generations have basically robbed the younger ones to fund a great lifestyle for ourselves.
Anyway, here is some feedback on your comments.
I was able to link it!
I was able to open the link.
How wonderful members they are!
Aren’t they kind! (“How 〜 you/they are” is quite old-fashioned.)
Perhaps, I just lacked toughness, but I couldn’t do but give up work.
Perhaps I just wasn’t tough enough, but I felt like giving up work was the only thing I could do.
“feel obligated to” is now only in standard use in American English and some dialects such as Scottish, having disappeared from British English by the 20th century, being replaced by “obliged”.(it was previously used in the 17th through 19th centuries)
I didn’t know that. Thanks!
I know all my friends are not really interested in seeing flowers, but in eating and chatting!!
I know that all my friends are more interested in eating and chatting than they are in seeing the flowers!
I’m also the one who quit working after giving birth to my first child.
I’m another one who quit working after giving birth to my first child.
For some Japanese women “a university degree” is just like an accessory in their background to find a good husband.
This is, unfortunately, very true. I once knew a man who said that his company used to like employing graduates of XXX University as office ladies. When I asked him why, he said, “Because the fees are very high, so students who go there must come from reasonably rich families. That means they will make good wives for our employees.” (I would love to see Kattie’s face as she reads this!)
Actually, I’m not really sure if this is because of Japanese women’s lazy nature or because of Japan’s male society, but I guess it is the second one.
… but I guess it is the latter.
but soon I expected little of his help.
but I soon gave up expecting him to help.
Keep working is not easy,
It is not easy to keep working,
Do you think it is necessary to work so many hours and do so much overtime?
We discussed this before in an entry called “The Busy Myth.” The problem in Japan is not that people are expected to work hard, but rather that they are expected to stay in work for a long time. It’s more about appearances than anything else, especially for young people. I knew a junior high school teacher once who used to leave work at 5.30 every day to go swimming. She was a far better teacher than most of her colleagues, and she worked about 100 times more efficiently than they did, but she had a reputation for being “not a hard worker” because she left so early. Unfortunately, that is just the reality of working life in Japan.
It is embarrasing as the third economically powerful country:Japan, the worst developed country for mothers
It is embarrassing that as the third most economically powerful country, Japan is still the worst developed country for mothers.
I don’t think those small companies can afford to employ regular workers, but who can work only for short hours unless they receive government support.
… regular workers who can only work for limited hours …
I wonder if Japanese women just don’t feel like making useless effort because they know well that they can’t get payed or promoted as same as men in Japanese society.
I wonder if Japanese women are just unwilling to waste their time and effort, knowing that they will not have the same opportunities for pay rises and promotion as men in Japanese society.
I’m very busy preparing for moving to Tokyo, in where I’ll have to start working from April.
Congratulations on your new job, and good luck with the move. I hope you won’t be too busy to write comments!
I think what mothers here said was really true and much more women should work.
Japan has only three choices: 1) get more women working; 2) allow more immigration; or 3) live with a continually falling GDP.
so they didn’t want to work but they worked reluctantly.
so they worked because they had to, not because they wanted to.
I don’t think the systems is not bad. However, it is not only reason of this problem.
I’m not saying that the system is good, but I don’t think it is the only cause of this problem.
I think Tomoaki has a point here.
Because there are so many older people in this country, and their votes support the current government.
This is probably the biggest problem that Japan faces. The country is run by old people (actually, old men!) who are voted in by other old people. Old men tend to be conservative, traditional, and very resistant to change. That is why the only thing you ever hear them talking about is “getting back to Japan’s wonderful past.” They have no ideas about the future, and young people do not have a voice.
It’s really a waste that a lot of Japanese parents work hard to send their daughters like you mention above to universities.
It’s a waste of our teaching, too!
As I mentioned, I don’t think all women in Japan are chasing their career like Nobuko
… are as career-minded as Nobuko
I really wish if we had those, too, because the longer your period of leave gets, the more difficult it gets to catch up. I
Nice sentence, but you don’t need the first “if.”
Most of all women around me have jobs and I don’t have anyone who is full time mum besides my youngest sister,
Most of the women around me have jobs, and I don’t know anyone who is a full-time mum except my youngest sister.
As Kattie mentioned, women who want to return to work after having children should be given the chance to do so, but I don’t think people who stay at home should be criticised, either.
My husband retied yesterday
Congratulations! I hope he doesn’t get under your feet too much!
after he fell down cerebral hemorrhage
I think “after he had a stroke” would be the most natural way to say this.
After retired, hunbands don’t know how to live everday life, always follow after wives, and don’t do anything. It’s really stressful for housewives.
Kattie might not know this, but there has been a large increase in the number of “silver divorces” in recent years. These happen when husbands who were never at home retire, and the wives realize that they don’t actually like them very much!
David, if you are reading this, I’d love to hear what your students think about this issue.
I’m afraid that none of my students are around at the moment. One of them is staying with Kattie, though, so she might write a comment tomorrow.
Most of mothers in my generation is working ,mostly part-time though.
Most mothers of my generation are working, although most of them are only part-time.
That’s it for today. Have a great weekend.