By Amy Borovoy
Social consuming is an permitted element of operating lifestyles in Japan, and ladies are left to control their drunken husbands while the lads go back domestic, restoring them to sobriety for the next day to come of labor. In trying to take care of their husbands' alcoholism, the ladies face a profound cultural quandary: while does the nurturing habit anticipated of an exceptional spouse and mom turn into a part of a trend of habit that's truly damaging? How does the party of nurturance and dependency masks the exploitative elements not only of relations existence but additionally of public lifestyles in Japan? The Too-Good spouse follows the reports of a bunch of middle-class ladies in Tokyo who participated in a weekly aid assembly for households of substance abusers at a public mental-health medical institution. Amy Borovoy deftly analyzes the dilemmas of being woman in sleek Japan and the grace with which girls fight inside of a method that helps other halves and moms yet thwarts their makes an attempt to discover success outdoor the family members. The vital matters of the ebook achieve past the matter of alcoholism to check the women's personal techniques of self-reflection and feedback and the deeper fissures and asymmetries that undergird eastern productiveness and social order.
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Extra resources for The Too-Good Wife: Alcohol, Codependency, and the Politics of Nurturance in Postwar Japan
Does equality mean the same thing for all cultures? The entry of the codependency discourse into Japanese therapeutic culture in the 1980s is one moment in a postwar history of Japanese attempts to grapple with the dilemmas of their own historically rooted cultural system using a language imposed by the West. In the postwar era, the Japanese came increasingly under the inﬂuence of American notions of citizenship, selfhood, and gender. ” The transformation of Japan was seen by occupation o‹cials as a testimony to the triumph and universality of American values (Pyle 1978: 153).
Since children respond to their mother just like a reﬂection in a mirror, if the mother’s disposition is not pure, then the children, reﬂect- 16 INTRODUCTION ing this, also cannot be pure. If we desire children of ﬁne character and disposition, therefore, then their mother by all means should also attain similar perfection. (Arinori, cited in Braisted 1976: 252) The complicated mixture of servitude and pride, or sacriﬁce and entitlement, that is the legacy of Meiji articulations of gender and family has been one of the key tensions of women’s lives and feminist politics in Japan, and has continued to resonate in contemporary times.
Middle-class women also became intimately involved in their children’s education, facilitating the accomplishment of homework and the long push to pass a series of standardized exams, a struggle often jokingly referred to as a three-legged race binding mother and child. The race, ideally, leads to entrance in an elite university, the key credential for obtaining employment in a reputable, large-scale corporation (Vogel 1978; Allison 2000; White 1987). The home became a kind of caregiving center in postwar society.