Previous studies of Korean mothers' education fever have mainly emphasized aspects of mothers' “sacrifice.” Changes in partly weakened gender-based division of labor and trends in women's higher educational attainment have not been adequately considered. This study examines the distinct characteristics of mothers' deep involvement in child education documented in the Korean magazine “Housewife's Life.” It also explores how social contexts support the mothers' characteristic involvement. Mothers' emotional support-oriented roles in child education have shifted towards more manager-like roles since the late 90s. Their involvement has these characteristics: (1) They take advantage of their own educational backgrounds. (2) Their work has the nature of an occupation, as it consists of tasks that can be objectively evaluated. (3) Mothers show deviation from the previous “good wife, wise mother” norm. Proceeding from these characteristics, mothers' involvement is more like “self-actualization” than “sacrifice.” For college-educated housewives, “Involvement in child education as self-actualization” is a choice; it is an alternative that has emerged as changes in society have occurred. Women's increased needs for self-actualization, an increase in working moms who have professional jobs, and changes in mothers' positions within the contemporary Korean family are analyzed.
Special Issue: Restructuring the Japanese Welfare Regime in an Aged Society with a Low Fertility Rate
The Japanese welfare regime, often evaluated to be familialistic, has not been functioned as a scaffold that provides stability to people in their everyday lives since the 1990s. During this period, aging of the population and the declining birthrate have proceeded faster than expected, and the life course of individuals and families, as well as corporate employment policies, have all changed. As a result, the restructuring of the current social security and social welfare systems has been forced to undergo further restructuring. Against this backdrop, it is important to consider the relation of the Japanese welfare regime to the life course of individuals and families in both research and practice. The purpose of this symposium, through dialogue with researchers around and related to the area of family studies, was to explore contemporary issues in family studies. Four symposists, Taro Miyamoto (welfare politics), Mari Osawa (social policy studies), Ryoko Hattori (work–life balance theory, social policy studies), Miyuki Shimoebisu (family sociology, welfare sociology) reported and Emiko Ochiai (family sociology) commented on these reports. Hiroko Fujisaki and Hiroyuki Kubota served as coordinators and chairpersons.
This article tries to comparatively analyze the effects of social policies relating to working and child-rearing from a gender perspective. Trends of relative poverty rates and poverty reduction rates in Japan suggest that income redistribution through tax and social security schemes is not only ineffective in reducing poverty, but is actually deepening poverty for children and households where all adult members work (double-earning couples, and working lone parents and singles), while working conditions have been deteriorating. A negative figure in the poverty reduction rate is found in no other country of the OECD, an observation that is clearly problematic for a nation concerned by its low fertility rate and declining labor force. By examining the contributing side of income tax and social security, it can be seen that Japan has one of the least progressive schemes, the highest rate of net payment to government (income tax and employee's social security contributions less cash transfers) for lone parents in particular. The child benefit implemented by the DPJ government in 2010 and 2011 was effective in reducing rates of payment by households with children. Finally, certain outcomes of ‘Abenomics' are examined and their policy implications discussed.
This paper analyzes the effects of Japan's family responsibility support policy related to care work. A gender-segregated structure was formed in the Japanese employment system where the male worker was the breadwinner and the female was the caregiver in a family. This structure was linked to the tax system and the social security system, in both of which the male breadwinner supported the full-time housewife. The 1985 reform of the national pension system introduced “Category III insured persons” that did not need to pay contributions. The gender-segregated structure against the Equal Employment Opportunity Law introduced a course-based personnel management system to keep the gender-segregated structure. The collapse of the bubble economy brought longer working hours and more non-regular work for people as part-timers or temporary workers. Positive action policies for children and working mothers and father could not be utilized sufficiently in the employment system.
In the Japanese welfare regime described as familialism, child-rearing and elderly care have been regarded as the responsibility of the family. As such, in Japan, policies for the “socialization of care” have been implemented since the 1990s. In fact, in both child care and elderly care, the advance of socialization can be observed. However legally and practically, family responsibility in care has been firmly maintained, so even now, a considerable amount of care is left to the family. In order to promote the “socialization of care,” it is necessary to establish a “high-quality quasi-market” of care services; therefore, both considerable financial resources and the reinforcement of the regulations are indispensable. As for what follows the “socialization of care,” it is necessary to re-define “family care” in each of the domains of child care policy and elderly care policy. Without devaluing care in society, to achieve the “socialization of care,” the “logic of escaping from family care” and the “logic of protecting family care” are required.