• Asian families;
  • cohort;
  • gender;
  • sociohistorical change

This research investigates change in gender beliefs in Japan during a period of economic hard times in the late 1990s. Using data from the International Social Survey Programme on the Japanese population from 1994 (n = 1,054) and 2002 (n = 872), we examined how cohort replacement and intracohort change contributed to changes in gender beliefs. We found important differences from the patterns of change reported for many Western countries, namely, a decoupling between societal trends in the female labor force participation rate and beliefs about gender. Such differences may be attributable to factors such as the high societal valuation of the housewife role compared to that in other postindustrial countries and sanctions against full-time employment for women in Japan.