A Content Analysis of Japanese Print Advertisements Utilizing the Concepts of Erving Goffman's Study of Gender Advertisements

Publication Year



Gender, Japan, Japanese print, advertisements, Erving Goffman


Art and Design | Business | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Japanese Studies


"In 1985 a director general of the cultural affairs bureau of the Ministry of Education (in Japan), Miura Shumon, caused a small stir when he wrote in a couple of magazine articles that rape, although not gentlemanly conduct, was not so bad if practiced on modern young women whose moral standards had slipped anyhow" (Wolfson 1990, pg. 173). Though it would be absurd to infer that all of Japanese society would agree with Miura Shumon's statement, it would be difficult to say that Japanese society treats women as equal to men. In Japan, women receive roughly half the pay of men and hold only 1% of the managerial posts in the work force. The fact that 99% of all clerical workers in Japan are women only reinforces the notion that women are relegated to the jobs of lesser responsibility. "In 1991, 23% of female high school students enrolled in junior colleges and 16% in universities; the figures for men were 2% and 34%, respectively" (Omori 1993, pg. 86). This inequality between women and men in the level of higher education to which they aspire seems to parallel the mentioned sexual inequalities in both managerial and clerical positions. Women in Japan have not fared well in the political forum either. It was not until the U.S. Occupation of Japan after World War II that women gained the right to participate as either voters or candidates in government elections. In the years between the Occupation and 1992 there were only three female cabinet ministers and eight parliamentary vice ministers. In addition, representation in the 1986 House of Representatives was only 1.4% female, and women held only 1.4% of prefectural level councilor position, 3.2% of municipal councilor positions and 7.7% of ward councilor positions. At that time there were no female governors. In the 1987 entering class of the bureaucracy only 128 of the 1669 new bureaucrats were women and the 6500 middle-ranking administrators in the bureaucracy only 36 were women. It is clear that differences exist between the sexes in Japanese society with regard to economics and politics, but more interesting are the views of Japanese women about men, their work, and themselves.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Asian Studies

This document is currently unavailable online.


Article Location