Gender Equality – Do We Really Know What’s Going on in Japan?

Shibuya TokyoFor years, I have been hearing how oppressive the Japanese society is to women. I won’t pretend that I can evaluate that aspect of Japan while staying there for just a few days, but as soon as I arrive, it was really hard for me to believe that these super polite, super humble looking men who bow to everyone and everything, can be all that domineering with women. Seeing women work in all kinds of white and blue collar jobs, and seeing just as many women rush to work in the morning as men makes it very hard for me to believe that Japanese men are all that evil toward their women.

Ironically, the two times when I was checking my bags in and out of the hotel’s storage in Tokyo, the bell desk clerk was a young, very thin girl who couldn’t possible be older than 22. She carried my suitcase and a large, very heavy backpack, which I could barely lift, over to me with a smile and bowed all the way down right after putting it down. I don’t think I have ever seen a female bell desk clerk in San Francisco or anywhere else.

This makes me wonder about how badly we misunderstand Japanese society and culture, assuming that all or most women look and act like geishas just because we watched a couple of movies about ancient Japan.


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