The representation of women in Japanese written media


  • Seiko Yasumoto



The purpose of this paper is to investigate the representation of women in Japanese society in relation to men with respect to the use of language. One selected section of the published media has been used to determine if the Japanese language still propagates the traditional role of women as being different to and beneath that of men or if there has been some change. The traditional relationship of women to men is called in Japanese dan-son jo-hi and dates back to before the Meiji era. dan-son jo-hi involves the idea that men should be respected and not women, that women have lower status than men in society. As a case study, the magazine AERA that purports to be the “Time magazine of Japan” was selected. Thirty articles published between 2000 and 2002 from “Josei” the women’s section of AERA, were examined by using three analytical techniques: Content analysis; Foregrounding analysis; Gender control and Gender image analysis. These three analyses show that the messages about a woman’s role vary from one of promoting historical traditional attitudes through to more current “Western attitudes” with respect to equal status for women.