Fitting into American Culture: The Stories of Twelve japanese Women
Beard, Carrie C.
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Due to the increased Japanese investment into the United States, the population of Japanese nationals living in this country has been growing. One would imagine that the transition into another culture would be similar for both sexes; however, the extensive social differences between Japanese men and women has led me to believe that the transition into American culture would be much more different for women because of the differences in roles for American women and Japanese women. In recent trends of the middle class, American women are expected to fight for their equality and in doing so must accept an extra role in the work place in addition to their role in the home. Japanese women, on the other hand, are expected to relinquish this extra role upon marriage or upon childbirth. As is commonly known, Japanese men and women are equal in the legal sense but not necessarily in the social sphere. Japanese women are masters of their homes and children but not in the workplace. However, the feminist movement has never been very popular in Japan. Differences between American and Japanese women are inevitable, and it is highly likely that the lives of Japanese women will be changed by their experiences in the United States. Interviews show the changes that Japanese women have experienced or are experiencing since arriving. Twelve women with varying lengths of stay in the United States agreed to share their experiences with me. The aim of my survey was to find Japanese women who had come to this country with their families. Even though I was not able to find a sufficient number of women who met this qualification, the results from all of the interviews prove to be helpful to the study. Although the reason for many of these women coming to the United States is the same, their views of the United States are different. They have all found things that are shocking in the American culture, and all have dealt with things gradually with the passage of time. Their viewpoints are all very important in studying the differences in these two cultures as well as in helping us to see our country through the eyes of others.