Figure 1. Modern Japanese workers in the workplace
Background Information about the Picture
I found this picture on a website called Istockphoto. I accessed it on 16th March 2022.
This image displays to the viewers what goes behind the scene of the working sector in the twenty-first century. The Japanese have been positively influenced by imperialism in the modern era. As such, they have begun to abandon some of the traditional practices which oppress women. They have also improved the working conditions of workers given that they recognize they play an essential role in building Japan’s economy.
Position of Women in the Workplace
The first theme that this image allows me to discuss is the position of women in society in the 21st century. In this context, such an image shows that many Japanese women spend a lot of time practicing the skills required in the workplace presently (Kono, 2012). It also displays that although few women are contemptuous of working outside the home, most Japanese women are not ashamed of being assigned tasks outside the home. This means that despite the biased gender laws, women are proud of earning income to assist their families. They are also proud to earn income through their efforts. Apart from opting to earn income, the picture shows that Japanese women are proud to earn livelihood together with men. This aspect is triggered by the fact that men’s income is barely sufficient in a bid for maintaining the modern standard of living. In addition, the picture exemplifies that Japanese women are ready to stay at work even after they have been married.
The other aspect which this picture shows is that since the start of the Meiji era most Japanese women who work outside the home are young, under the age of 35. Young women are allowed to work in different organizations given that they are innovative and can allow organizations to attain their aims. Furthermore, the technical skills which they have acquired can allow them to undertake different tasks or activities in the organization. The picture also shows that the present high rate of employment among Japanese women is connected to the high wages of working women. Although women face sex discrimination in the workplace, the picture further reveals that their level of education determines the position Japanese women are assigned in the workplace. For instance, educated women are assigned managerial positions so that they can enable organizations to accomplish their goals.
The other theme that this picture shows is the strategies that Japanese women can embrace so that they can overcome inequality in the workplace. Since the problem of inequality is deeply embedded in the social as well as cultural norms, the photograph exemplifies that it is barely possible for women to act alone to attain equal rights. As such, they need to recognize that they can set social transformation in Japan via continued global pressure. They also need to organize themselves into unions since they are exposed to United States labor movements. Although they can come up with small strikes, it will be difficult for the strike leaders to sustain their movements due to multiple reasons (Young, 2013). First of all, they will face stiff opposition from the organization given that the administrators will consider that they will incur a lot of costs to meet the demands of women. Furthermore, the strikes will be observed in the context of being roadblocks to progress.
Position of Men in the Workplace
Apart from exploring how to overcome inequality, the other theme that this image exemplifies is the position of Japanese men in the workplace. The picture specifically shows that the Japanese support equality in the workplace. As such, they have come have coined a slogan such as “all women can shine’’ to empower women in the workplace. In addition, Japanese men have assisted administrators to come up with laws that favor women. Japanese men have also exposed women to cognitive support especially when they face problems in their families. Japanese men have further permitted women to join unions and movements to assist them to fight gender discrimination and low wages (Young, 2013). Finally, men have empowered women to pursue further education so that they can be assigned good positions in organizations. Although many Japanese men have assisted to improve the working conditions of women, the picture shows that the population of women has increased as compared to men in the workplace. Such change has been witnessed given that many organizations consider that women perform office tasks better than men.
Why Understanding said Themes is Indispensable
I think that understanding the above-mentioned themes is indispensable to the history of modern Japan due to profound reasons. The first reason why I think they are necessary is that they display how being open to other nations’ cultures or ways of life positively influenced Japan. For instance, imperial restoration enabled the Japanese to recognize that they should be involved in their profession so that they can occupy a better place in society. Apart from exposing viewers to the effect of imperialism, the themes are indispensable since they exemplify the way existing social arrangements brought the Japanese together. They also show how contemporary institutional structures like higher learning and many others empowered both men and women. They further created an idea of urban-centrism (Young, 2013). That is, contemporary cities could use experts to expand their organizations and resources. The other reason why I ponder that understanding the above-mentioned themes is necessary is that it exposes the Japanese to how they were not alone in progress. Instead, likewise Japan, nations such as Russia, France, and many others continued to implement multiple reforms to enable them to progress.
Kono, K. T. (2012). Imperializing Motherhood: The Education of a ‘Manchu Girl’in Colonial Manchuria. Reading Colonial Japan: Text, Context, and Critique, 225–41.
Young, L. (2013). Beyond the metropolis: second cities and modern life in interwar Japan. Univ of California Press