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Separate Spheres or Increasing Equality? Changing Gender Beliefs in Postwar Japan


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    Research Institute for the Quality of Life, Romanian Academy of Science, Calea 13 Septembrie 13, Sector 5, Bucharest, 050718, Romania.

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    Department of Sociology and Population Research Institute, Pennsylvania State University, 308 Pond Lab, University Park, PA 16802.

  • This article was edited by Jay Teachman.

Department of Sociology, University at Buffalo (SUNY), 430 Park Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260 (


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.