Women in the Language and Society of Japan

The Linguistic Roots of Bias


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About the Book

Feminist critics have long considered language a primary vehicle for the transmission of sexist values in a society. This much-needed sociolinguistic critique examines the representation of women in traditional Japanese language and society. Derogatory and highly-sexualized terms are placed in historical context, and the progress of nonsexist language reform is reviewed. Central to this work are the individual voices of Japanese women who took part in a survey, expressing their candid thoughts and concerns regarding biased gender representations. In their own words, they give voice to the reality of being female within the constraints of a traditional—and sometimes misogynistic—language.

About the Author(s)

The late Naoko Takemaru was an associate professor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She was a faculty member for 20 years and taught numerous courses on Japanese culture, business, and language. She is also remembered as someone who had a passion for nature and animals, and especially loved cats.  She was beloved by her colleagues and students, and known affectionately to them as “Takemaru Sensei.”

Bibliographic Details

Naoko Takemaru

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 240
Bibliographic Info: tables, appendices, bibliography, indexes
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4003-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5610-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

List of Tables      viii
Acknowledgments      ix
Preface      1
Introduction      3

Part I: Representation of Women in Japanese Society
1—Status and Roles of Women in Japan      9
2—Family and Marriage in Japan      27
3—Women and Education in Japan      44
4—Women in the Japanese Workplace      56
5—Feminism in Japan      72

Part II: Representation of Women in the Japanese Language
6—Survey: Voices from Japanese Women      87
7—Women and the Japanese Language: The Present and the Future      145

Appendix A: Demographic Information about the Survey Participants      203
Appendix B: Japanese Words and Phrases Listed by the Survey Participants      205
Bibliography      211
Index      223

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Of value”—Social Science Japan Journal