This is copy and paste of what I wrote elsewhere as a reply on a youtube video of feminism in Japan. I think the fundamental differences are (intentionally)ignored by almost all of the western media/articles when they talk about feminism in Japan.
“Well， I think it is mostly because of poor working conditions and thus Japanese society， in general， see working as a burden rather than right. M
any women in Japan， as well as many men，are always complaining the fact they “have to” work.Pretty much any international/domestic statistics says Women‘s life satisfaction in Japan is extremely high compared with that of men in Japan. This is not true in western countries. In western countries， more often than not， men feel happier/ have higher life satisfaction than women of the same country.
46% of women in Japan rated their life satisfaction on the highest rung of the ladder compared with 31% of men in Japan survey by Pew research center in 2003. Women’s life satisfaction - Men‘s life satisfaction in Japan is the second highest only after Pakistan which is one of the countries men literally have to go to war and have high chances of getting killed and have extremely low happiness ratio.
In 2015 PISA’s students‘ life survey， Japan is one of the only two countries that female students are more satisfied with their life than male students.Another statistics that show gender role in Japan often means tougher/ dirtier role for boys even in the earlier stage of life.
In World value surveys report， women in Japan who rated they were either very happy or relatively happy were 90.4% in 2010 compared with 82.2% of men rated in the same manner which makes 8.2 % difference and this is the highest number in the world. In about half the countries surveyed women were less happy than men.
Many if not majority of women in Japan fantasize traditional gender role(being housewife) because housewives are literally the happiest demographic save for the elderly and students. Keep in mind housewife in Japan is not a submissive role looked down upon by society in Japan， husbands give up the whole paycheck and to be given “allowance” from housewives.
This is subjective happiness by employment status in Japan in the JGSS. The ratio of people who answered they are currently very happy(rated 5/5)
43.8% Female pensioners 退休领养老金的女性
43.6% Housewives 家庭主妇
40.8% Female business owners 做生意的女性
32.4% Male business owners 做生意的男性
30.7% Male regular workers 有固定工作的男性
26.8% Female non-regular workers无固定工作的女性
25.8% Female regular workers 有固定工作的女性
25.6% Male pensioners 退休领养老金的男性
21.0% Househusbands 家庭主夫
19.0% Male non-regular workers无固定工作的男性
15.7% Female job seekers 找工作的女性
11.4% Male job seekers找工作的男性
I think， if Japan had normal working hours， meaning 8 hours per day， there wouldn’t be such problems.
Work doesn‘t have to be this miserable， life eating slog.
This is tied in with Japanese proudness to work hard for society. seriously the level of commitment here even to menial jobs is quite different from any other place I’ve visited.
It‘s impressive that people have been brainwashed to consider pushing on through self imposed adversity as being a nationally admirable trait. Great for employers， though...
You’re talking about a situation that， due to changing economic conditions， is no longer attainable for most of the female population， though. I‘m not surprised that housewives report a high happiness level， since that’s already selecting for those privileged households where the husband‘s income is high enough that the wife doesn’t need to work. These figures are from a few years ago， but given the rate of growth I think it can reasonably be extrapolated that dual-income households will soon， if not already， outnumber single-income households by almost 2：1.
When you also factor in the non-married women， the employment rate among Japanese women of working age is over 75%， higher than the US even.
Once in the workforce， Japanese women are dealing with the same shitty conditions as the men， with the added bonuses of sexual harassment， pay inequality， and lack of opportunities for promotion (as a preemptive punishment for their potential to drop out the workforce due to childbearing or caring for elderly relatives).
I do agree that many unmarried women are still nursing an unrealistic fantasy of marrying one of those prized bachelors who make enough to support them， but given the growing rate of temporary employment and decline in real wages among young men， this won‘t be feasible for most. Once Japanese women accept the reality of their roles in the working world， I think you’ll find more outright dissatisfaction...and maybe even support for feminism.