In This Chapter

Counting on women while not counting women’s personhood

A critical analysis of the masculine ideal of self-made man in Japan

Authored by: Ryo Hirayama

Routledge Handbook of East Asian Gender Studies

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  November  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138959897
eBook ISBN: 9781315660523
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter critically examines the assumption that Japanese men are hesitant to depend on others in an effort to realise the cultural ideal of self-made man. In doing so, I seek to show that the image of men as compelled to be independent is maintained by denying personhood to women, on whom men actually depend for care and support. Referring to people’s attitudes towards married men who serve as primary care-givers for their ageing parents as well as media representation of men who are “discouraged” by their wife from becoming involved with housework, this chapter illustrates how men’s dependence on women is concealed institutionally and discursively to maintain the fiction of men’s independence.

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