Cover image for The mountain is moving : Japanese women's lives
The mountain is moving : Japanese women's lives
Morley, Patricia A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New York University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiii, 226 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Is the mountain moving? -- Back to the future: the waiting years -- Culture: the master key -- Housewives: the smile of a mountain witch -- Education in a one-chance society -- Facing two ways: women in the workplace -- The twilight years: caring for the elderly -- Sexual politics -- Our little Noah's ark planet: empowerment through working together -- Firewords: empowerment through writing -- Becoming the flag: the twenty-first century is woman's time.
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Item Holds
HQ1762 .M64 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Are Japanese women happy with their roles as wives and mothers, content to leave the stress of fourteen-hour days in offices and commuter trains to men? Or are they frustrated by the limitations of this traditional arrangement? Why are Japanese women actively discouraged from pursuing careers when they have one of the highest levels of education in the world? Will a new generation of women be able gain equality at home and at work? With elegant prose, noted biographer and critic Patricia Morley tackles these questions as she explores the daily lives and the hopes and aspirations of dynamic Japanese women.

Based on hundreds of interviews, The Mountain is Moving looks at the many facets of women's lives, including education, marriage and child rearing, the workplace, eldercare, the political arena, and volunteerism. The interviews are complemented by readings of a diverse and compelling range of stories and novels by and about Japanese women.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In an accessible academic study, Canadian biographer and critic Morley (As Though Life Mattered: Leo Kennedy's Story) focuses on the status of Japanese women since WWII, when the 1946 Constitution revolutionized the Japanese patriarchal class structure by stating that men and women were to be equal and marriage must be by mutual consent. Drawing on comprehensive research and interviews with hundreds of women, Morley analyzes marriage, education, the workplace and sexuality in Japanese culture in order to determine whether or not the freedoms promised in the Constitution have been realized. She documents some advances for women in all areas of her investigation but contends that the pervasive Japanese conviction that individualism is selfish, together with a strong cultural commitment to hierarchical organizations, has worked against true gender equality. Many women are still trapped in the home by marriage, while well-paid employment is reserved for company men who work extremely long hours. Although she is careful for the most part to remain objective, Morley's inference that the prevalence of pornography in Japan is directly related to sexual crimes committed there is based on theory rather than hard evidence. She believes that women are very gradually transforming their roles in Japanese society, a conclusion that is supported by the work of contemporary Japanese women authors who, through their writing, are providing a strong critique of male-dominated culture as well as an impetus for change. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Using a contemporary Western perspective, interviews, secondary sources, and English translations of Japanese literature, Morley finds much that is wrong with a system that puts Japan well behind other advanced nations on the treatment of women. Morley also concludes that contemporary Japanese women have taken significant steps to remove a mountain of social conventions that have relegated them to a secondary role. Japanese women are the leading catalyst of this quiet revolution. Japanese family and employment patterns, politics, education, and gender relations are in a state of flux. The 1993 marriage between Crown Prince Noruhito and Masako Owada perhaps symbolizes a society caught between tradition and modernity. Professional attainment by Japanese females, never an aberration, confirms at the very least that Japanese females are equal in intellect and discipline. The change of attitudes--for Japanese men and women--is also based on an economic reality that has deferred marriage and reduced the number of children in a family. Thus Japanese women enjoy unprecedented freedom from their parents and spouses. Includes 32 illustrations and photographs of leading Japanese females. Suitable for general readers and undergraduates. H. T. Wong; Eastern Washington University