An Overview of Historical and Cultural Background of Women in Japan

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Firdous Nilofer Ghaloo


The Japanese history reveals that women in early Japan enjoyed all rights and privileges when there was matriarchal system and the Shinto religion, a native religion was on its rise. In 7th and 8th centuries women’s regime was acceptable in Japan. But the frequent wars, shifting to feudalism, Buddhist teachings regarding the women, and the spread of Confucius teachings particularly concept of feminine role kept women out of school, limited women mobility and freedom, restricted to homes and role assigned them just to please and serve their male family members. In Edo period, the proper guidelines were prepared for women’s activity and role in accordance with Confucius teachings. This paper attempts to present the picture of status of women from very beginning through the major ruling period i.e Feudal rule, Hein rule, Meiji rule, Edo rule and even in today’s modernized and advanced Japan. Through this paper it has been tried to put light on the teachings of the various religions/creeds regarding the women’s role which deprived them from their equal humanitarian rights and made their position subordinating in Japanese society.

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