Popular Culture and Workplace Gendering Among Varieties of Capitalism: Working Women and Their Representation in Japanese Manga

18 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2014

See all articles by Peter Matanle

Peter Matanle

University of Sheffield - School of East Asian Studies; Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies

Kuniko Ishiguro

Independent

Leo McCann

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School

Date Written: April 8, 2014

Abstract

Female empowerment is a prerequisite for a just and sustainable developed society. Being the most developed non-western country, Japan offers an instructive window onto concerns about gender worldwide. Although overall gender equality is advancing in Japan, difficulties remain, especially in achieving equality in the workplace. We draw on theories of ontological commitment and the psychology of fiction to critically analyse the role of popular culture — in this case manga — in the reproduction of gender inequality in the Japanese workplace. We present examples of four of the most popular mainstream manga aimed at working men and women in Japan and show how women are depicted. We argue that the hyper-mediated fictional realism of representative tropes generates an ontological commitment to characters and narratives among consumers that reinforces the reproduction of a culturally exceptionalist national political economic space, one of whose essential defining characteristics is a gendered workplace. Our research suggests important implications for researching the relationship between culture, in all its forms, and spatial variation in persistent institutional biases among varieties of capitalism.

Suggested Citation

Matanle, Peter and Ishiguro, Kuniko and McCann, Leo, Popular Culture and Workplace Gendering Among Varieties of Capitalism: Working Women and Their Representation in Japanese Manga (April 8, 2014). Gender, Work and Organization, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2424393

Peter Matanle (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of East Asian Studies ( email )

6-8 Shearwood Road
Sheffield, S10 2TD
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.shef.ac.uk/seas/staff/japanese/matanle.html

Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/

Kuniko Ishiguro

Independent

No Address Available

Leo McCann

University of Manchester - Manchester Business School ( email )

Booth Street West
Manchester, M15 6PB
United Kingdom

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