TOKYO - With declining population numbers and birth rates far below replacement level, Japan faces its greatest humanitarian crisis during peace time. Worse, the relation between man and woman seems inherently broken:
Many single women today, having benefited from living in one of the wealthiest and most advanced societies on earth (that’s a simple fact), don’t want to get married in their 20s, while in their 30s they’ve lost ability and interest. Too many women don’t want to have children for lack of suitable partners and governmental support, they say. The situation is far more desolate for an ever-growing percentage of disposable men who cannot find a spouse (or don’t want to). About 40% of the Japanese men in their 30s are reportedly unmarried. Many of them will remain childless.
“Urging females to procreate for the survival of their nation probably wouldn’t work anyway. Too many personal factors have contributed to this malaise.”
The classical role of the ‘housewife’ (her husband works and hands the income to her) is bound to become extinct, at least if Western radical feminists have it their way. Japan is still occupied by US military forces, and its media and its politicians are tightly monitored and sometimes manipulated by Western overseers. For example, the only major English publication in Japan is The Japan Times, a US propaganda tool and echo chamber of The New York Times, which is incorporates. Any of Tokyo’s attempts of ‘social engineering’ will immediately trigger accusations from Western pundits and human rights groups, let alone Western leaders, that Japan was objectifying women as ‘baby-making machines’. Urging females to procreate for the survival of their nation probably wouldn’t work anyway. Too many personal factors have contributed to this malaise.
Western radical feminism enters the island on the edge of the world
And now this: Massive Western media campaigns have swept this country off its feet in their defeating assessment of Japan’s gender inequality and discrimination against women. (e. g. ‘Japan is holding back half the nation‘) Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, fearful of displeasing Washington, vowed to increase the share of women in the workforce dramatically before the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo. That’s when the world will watch Japan. “Look how it is treating its females!” Japanese elites are extremely worried about being universally labeled by Western media as ‘sexist’. It would be a public relation disaster. That’s because the land of the rising sun still clearly distinguishes between male and female culture.
This is in stark contrast to insanely “liberal” America where gender differences are now categorically dismissed as ‘social construct’ and ‘oppressive patriarchy’ invented to keep the gentle sex in place. When the Communist Party of China under Mao Zedong aimed for gender equality (“Women hold up half the sky!”), Japan could effectively shield itself from inhumane “communist ideology” precisely because the USA supported democracy, capitalism, and freedom of expression. Now, it is America that forces Japan to steamroll society and send its women to hard labor to increase productivity, leaving their few children to the state. History can be an asshole, indeed.
America is free, Japan… not so much?
“Once given a soap box or media platform, radical feminists frequently accuse men of wrongdoings and drag them to the court of public opinion, a modern version of inquisition and witch-hunt.”
Feminism in America has turned into blatant misandry (hate for men) and has resorted to the trickery of pseudoscience. Biological differences are declared as irrelevant or non-existent. “Gender” is called a “myth” and must be eliminated, except for LGTB (lesbian, gay, transgender, or bisexual) which is a genetic disposition that society must fully embrace. Critics of feminism are universally shamed as “misogynist” (women hater), “rape apologizers”, or “male supremacists”. Women in America can now claim universal victimhood. They are ‘right’ by virtue of being a woman. Once given a soap box or media platform, radical feminists frequently accuse men of wrongdoings and drag them to the court of public opinion, a modern version of inquisition and witch-hunt. All this was previously distant noise in Nippon, but how long can Japan’s society avoid the aggressive American status quo?
It is true that women in Japan are under-represented in many occupations (engineering, boardrooms, construction, etc.), while over-represented in others (music, fashion industry, service sector, education, etc.). This division of labor had served Japan well was for over three decades, when it once reigned as the No 2 biggest economy on earth, and only because the champion, America, had almost triple the population and an empire. In other words, Japan was highly organized and effective, and it couldn’t get much better than that. Under capitalist society and democracy, women were free(-ish) to compete and express themselves, but many carried their femininity as a distinction that comes with plenty of advantages and privileges in life. Unfortunately, many decided to rear children and manage the household. (But then no children came.) Those who wanted to excel elsewhere could not, because men had a monopoly on labor and careers. This division of society alongside gender is now unacceptable and sexist, and both males and females must be shamed for tolerating ‘gender’ discrimination. Fair enough.
Feminist ideology and propaganda is hitting Japan badly
With no excuses of having to raise offspring (the average women in Japan gives birth to just one (1,4) kid in her lifetime), and legally declared ‘equal’ to men, females categorically must join the workforce to increase the national GDP and make up for lost ‘man-power’. It is the only option really –appropriate, practical, profitable, and -above all- politically correct. This might be not enough for Western radical feminists, though: Some prefer to make men and women completely interchangeable so that is becomes irrelevant who’s which, and they want to take the credit for Japan’s transformation. In particular on the internet, an ugly, full-blown gender war has commenced.
Meanwhile, in Tokyo, Osaka, and Yokohama, women are still overtly feminine, to say the least: Teenagers dress lolita [child-like], wear obligatory skirts in school [which is creepy on stairways and when riding the metro], speak with an impossibly girlish pitch, and they love pink toys. They don’t play baseball (the national sport); they play softy soft ball. To be fair, the situation has somewhat improved during the last 10 years or so, when before millions of convenient stores sold porn material in their magazine sections, or when tourist shops in Akihabara ornamented their walls with nude pictures of twelve years old girls; or when businessmen regularly paid high school teens for escort services (enjo kousai).
Compared to much of puritan America hinterland, Japanese society always seemed more bizarre and less romantic, with an entire range of services that the English language had no names for –hentai, bukkake, burusera, and so on.-. In addition, there are ‘love hotels’ and ‘cuddle cafes’ at every major bus stop. At last, mistress culture (in the past concubines) is far more elaborated Japan (and East-Asia in general) than it is in Western societies. To some Western uber-feminists, this all is despicably “male-centrist” and “backward Asian” and thus should be shamed and forbidden.
Gender studies and activism aim at Japan
“They result is the undying stereotype among Japanese women that Western men treat women better.”
Gender Studies has joined activism on its mission to ‘Westernize’ the Orient. It has essentially become part of the great narrative known as ‘Orientalism’, which means that Eastern people, including the Japanese, have no partake in world history and must be represented by Western historians. Likewise, Western feminists prefer to fight an ‘agent’s war’ (or “proxy war”) on behalf and alongside Japanese women against Japan’s patriarchy. Every colonial power tries to co-opt the local elites, impose its own standards, and grandiosely patronize the ‘losers’ - for example by humor and satire, or patronizing master narrative (ever studied the writing style of Western flagship media such as NYT, WSJ, Economist, etc.?) -; but most importantly, the invaders want to plunder the resources, mark their new territory, and steal the women of that place. There are two ways to achieve the latter: a) the local females are lured by power and wealth of the conquerors; and b) the local males are emasculated, e. g. deemed not good enough for their females. It is no secret that some Western companies in Japan (a) actively hire female employees either with higher salaries and better perks; or (b) they advertise themselves as superior match since Japanese companies are known to treat women bad (see b). They result is the undying stereotype among Japanese women that Western men treat women better.
This dominant versus submissive (gender-hijacked) dichotomy is not restricted to Western colonialism and empire, of course. Imperial Japan’s companies employed similar tactics in the rest of Asia. Companies are not at all as benevolent and white-knight as they often portray themselves to be in the gender debate –more often they perfectly exploit the gender division to their full advantage.
Needless to say, the global narrative is a rather one-sided affair –from west to east. We are much more likely to read about the Western design on Japan, than the other way round. Already, high profile American feminists have singled out Japan as the single-most sexist/misogynist country in the industrial world, systematically oppressing women, worse, “objectifying” them as eye-candy and submissive playthings. The Japan Times, said Western propaganda partner, is running the ‘sexism’ mantra up and down the news.
This campaign has hit Japan hard politically and economically. Economic-wise, Japanese manga (comics), anime (animation and film), and the game industry all have taken hits by Western pressure to conform to “global” (meaning US) standards of total gender equality.
As a result of Western third-wave feminism riding the internet (which, to be frank, is largely composed of US companies posing as “global public services,” e. g. Facebook, Google, Tumblr, Instagram, Youtube, Yahoo, etc.), legions of social justice warriors all stick their fingers in the face of the Japanese, it has become painful to walk in Ginza, Shinjuku, or Akihabara district in Tokyo and not feel slightly embarrassed, if not accomplice, by how women are depicted here: kawaii (cute) pose, big-eyes, x-legs, under-aged, and maximally fetishized. Is this now the heights of freedom of expression, or is it the abyss of it? Just never say that it might differ from man to woman…
Thor Tukoll is a pen name of Thorsten J. Pattberg, a German writer and cultural critic. He is the author of The East-West Dichotomy, Shengren, and Inside Peking University.
2015 (c) Thor Tukoll