The Issue of Female Labor in the Development and the Mutations of the Japanese State Social Policy from the Beginning of the Meiji Period

By Bernard Thomann

The issue of female labour in the development and the mutations of the Japanese state social policy from the beginning of the Meiji period.

The purpose of this article is to show that the historical construction of the gendered division of labour was part of a genuine process of modernisation, that is to say, of the development of a social policy, as industrialism expanded, that would be compatible with a given political and social ideology and with objectives of economic development. What was called, after the war, the « Japanese style welfare society » (nihonteki fukushi shakai) by the Liberal Democratic Party in power was based, in a more democratic political context, on essential principles of social solidarity, based on the norm of the male breadwinner that had been developed in the framework of a « corporatist » project conceived before 1945.

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