Patriarchal Society and Gender Equality in Japan



  • What is patriarchy
  • Japanese patriarchy background (briefly)
  • There is a point of gender inequalities in Japan due to patriarchy

(example: men>women in social or work situation、Men’s surname is chosen after mariage)



Patriarchy→gender gap

  • The idea of men needs to work due to backbone of a family(大黒柱: Daikokubashira)

→Men>Women ( income and social status).


For company executive and members of the Diet, many of them are men

  • Japan’s political representation



  • “Most disappointingly, Japan — the world’s No. 3 economy — was ranked among the most unequal countries, coming at 121st out of 153 countries.” by the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020


  • Gender breakdown of average annual salary in Japan 2018

Average salary

Male                5,4550,000

Female            2,931,000

“private salary statistics survey” by national tax agency)


Some improvements

  • Employment opportunities for women have increased as gender equality has been improved (however, it’s not enough because the percentage of executives is still low and some people cannot return to full-time employees after giving birth)

  • There was a law to choose a man’s first name, but it changed. (However, many people still think that it is common to take a male surname)

  • “Q. After marriage, which family name do you want to give yourself, your marriage partner? Or did you name yourself?

My name: Male married: 91.0%, Male unmarried couple: 82.0%, Female married couple: 17.0%, Female unmarried couple: 34.0%

Partner’s name: Male married couple: 9.0%, Male unmarried couple: 18.0%, Female married couple: 83.0%, Female unmarried couple: 66.0%”

(Questionnaire Survey on Marriage and Last Name (for Men and Women in their 20s and 40s). (2018). Tokyo: Watanabe Wedding. Retrieved 2020, from




  • Summarize
  • The Japanese way of thinking and the social system created by the patriarchy system that has continued for many years have been gradually improved.(by absorbing various ideas and information due to the spread of the Internet/ by increase in the environment in which the opinions of citizens can be asserted to organizations or government)


  • However, there is still a gender gap. (Men’s average annual income is higher, women’s career advancement rate is lower, job separation rate is higher, etc.)


  • It is important to maintain a positive attitude to change the points that should change due to gender inequality, such as when changing the law of family name. However, it is not the end that has changed, but the attitude of taking that unusual way of thinking and society should be changed as a matter of course.
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