What Does the Word of "Joshi-Ryoku" Mean in Terms of Gender in Japan?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Natsuno KIKUCHI , Nagoya City University, Nagoya, Japan
Recently the word "Joshi-ryoku" has become very popular on the mass media and daily life in Japan.  It seems a counterpart of the word "girl’s power" in the English speaking world, which means girls’ empowerment, ambition, or strength.  But Joshi-ryoku has a more restrictive sense.  The meaning of this word "Joshi-ryoku" is so complicated, and therefore, examining the usage of the word helps us to find the complexity of the modern Japanese culture and society, especially from the viewpoint of gender. 

  In these 10 years, the Japanese society has experienced the changes in many points:  The economy went into recession and improved: a regime change occurred: social unrest never ceased.  The movements by the sexual minority people are rising, while women's movements are stagnant and cannot achieve a change of generations. 

  The word "Joshi-ryoku" came into use in this social situation.  It means the ability that women must learn in any age.   The specific meaning changes in context, it varies, for example, from the ability as a housewife to do the housework efficiently to the ability as a working woman to manage business tasks with alacrity .  So it depends on the context where and by whom it is used, conservative or liberal. 

  This presentation examines the variable meaning of this word depending on different contexts and, by doing so, determines the gender regime that the word implies in the present Japanese society.