Rollenbilder im Wandel : Mann und Frau in japanischen Sozialkundebüchern von 1945 bis 1993

Ortmanns, Annelie GND

This article surveys the changing gender images in Japanese teaching materials by examining the family- and work-related content of civics textbooks for Japanese middle schools of two major publishers and the corresponding educational guidelines by the Ministry of Education. In analyzing the »official view« and the actual social development during the past six decades, two results are prominent: First, even though Japanese textbooks are often seen as extremely uniform due to the detailed guidelines and rigorous examination process of the Ministry of Education, this analysis identifies differences in content and even in formal structure of the subject matter presented by the two private publishers. Second, in general the major changes in the portrayal of gender role models can be described in the following manner. The first two decades of postwar civics were dominated by an attempt to establish in Japan democracy and equality of legal status in principle between men and women. The Western middle-class family ideal, based on a general division of labour (man as breadwinner, woman as housewife), was adopted and adjusted to traditional Japanese gender concepts, serving at the same time to stabilize the new social order and reaching a peak in the seventies. The idea that the social emancipation of women should extend beyond mere legal status has vividly been reflected in textbooks only since the eighties. The most recent texts of 1993 have at last cautiously turned to a new male role model, seeing men explicitly in their roles as fathers and partners in organizing family life as well as employment.