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In the 8th century, Japan had women emperors, and in the 12th century during the Heian period, women in Japan could inherit property in their own names and manage it by themselves: "Women could own property, be educated, and were allowed, if discrete (sic), to take lovers." From the late Edo period, the status of women declined.In the 17th century, the "Onna Daigaku", or "Learning for Women", by Confucianist author Kaibara Ekken, spelled out expectations for Japanese women, stating that "such is the stupidity of her character that it is incumbent on her, in every particular, to distrust herself and to obey her husband".Strains of this arrangement can be seen in contemporary Japan, where housewives are responsible for cooking, cleaning, child-rearing and support their husbands to work without any worries about family, Yet, as the number of dual-income households rises, women and men are sharing household chores, and research shows that this has led to increased satisfaction over households that divide labor in traditional ways.Women in these households were typically subject to arranged marriages at the behest of the household's patriarch, with more than half of all marriages in Japan being preemptively arranged until the 1960s.Japanese Woman (1903) by Hungarian artist Bertalan Székely.The extent to which women could participate in Japanese society has varied over time and social classes.A common occupation for young women is that of office lady, that is, a female office worker who performs generally pink collar tasks such as serving tea and secretarial or clerical work.
In 1986, the Equal Employment Opportunity Law took effect.
During the Meiji period, industrialization and urbanization reduced the authority of fathers and husbands, but at the same time the Meiji Civil Code of 1898 (specifically the introduction of the "ie" system) denied women legal rights and subjugated them to the will of household heads.
Modesty extended to the effective use of silence in both daily conversations and activities.
In these interviews with Japanese families, Lebra found that girls were assigned helping tasks while boys were more inclined to be left to schoolwork.
Although Japan remains a socially conservative society, with relatively pronounced gender roles, Japanese women and Japanese society are quite different from the strong stereotypes that exist in foreign media or travel guides, which paint the women in Japan as 'submissive' and devoid of any self-determination.
Tidiness included personal appearance and a clean home.