Thursday, January 26, 2023

Japan is changing, female employment increasing [Kimono Mom]

Noah Smith has an interesting article about how Japan has changed since the 1990s, Actually, Japan has changed a lot (Jan 24). He’s responding to an essay by Rupert Wingfield-Hayes, a British journalist who argued that Japan is mired in “stagnation and crisis” (Smith’s words). He acknowledges that, yes, there are problems. In particular, Japan seems to be gerontocracy. It’s not only that the population is aging, but that the political leadership is old (Wingfield-Hayes) and so is corporate leadership (Smith).

Smith points out that “Japan builds and builds and builds,” that Tokyo “is actually much more beautifully manicured than when I first saw it two decades ago,” and new buildings abound. Rent is affordable, housing costs are falling, and the size of the average person’s home has more than doubled between 1963 and 2013 in Tokyo Prefecture.

Moreover, fertility is up, there are more immigrants – Umm, err, What does this have to do with Kimono Mom? – and Tokyo is now an international city: “1 out of 8 people turning 20 in the city proper wasn’t born in the country.” And here we are:

Yet another example is the role of women in the workforce. Wingfield-Hayes rightfully dings Japan for not having enough women in corporate management, but neglects to mention that the percentage increased from 11% to 15% during his time there — not a massive social transformation, but not a picture of stasis either.

And this was accompanied by a large-scale movement of women into the workforce, such that Japan’s female employment rate now exceeds America’s.

Moe, Kimono Mom, is one of those women, no? And Sutan? What will she be doing in 20 years?

No comments:

Post a Comment