Haruko's world: a Japanese farm woman and her community by Gail Lee Bernstein

By Gail Lee Bernstein

In Japan as within the usa, relatives farming is at the wane, more and more rejected via the more youthful iteration in desire of extra promising monetary targets and extra refined comforts. but for hundreds of years prior, the village and the relations farm have constituted the realm of the majority of jap girls, as of eastern males. The dramatic financial and demographic advancements of the earlier twenty years have orced broad adjustments within the lives of eastern farm girls, a lot of hwom were left almost in control of their kin farms.This ebook is a learn of jap farm women’s lives within the current period: its valuable determine is 42-year-old Haruko, a fancy, vivid girl who either exemplifies and makes a mockery of the stereotype of eastern girls. via Haruko we research the paintings regimen, relatives relationships, and social lifetime of the ladies who're the mainstay of eastern agriculture. different ladies from Haruko’s village additionally determine within the tale, and the author’s observations of them, dependent principally on a six-month stick with Haruko and her relatives in 1974-75, are supplemented with information from questionnaires and private interviews.An epilogue recounts the author’s go back to Haruko’s village in 1982 and describes the alterations that experience happened because 1975 within the lives of Haruko’s kin and different village girls. The booklet is illustrated with photos.

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We feel honored that an American professor would be interested in our lives," an eighty-year-old man told me. I had originally feared that the knowledge that I planned to publish an account of my experiences in rural Japan might inhibit frank discussion, especially among women unaccustomed to speaking freely even with their neighbors, much less with strangers. I found, however, that if I appeared under "official" auspices, sponsored by the principal of the local junior high school, for example, or a former Diet representative from the area, who urged the women gathered for my benefit to "tell Sensei anything she wants to know," the women complied.

But even they grew tired of answering the same questions. " Once these initiation ceremonies-as I tried to view them-were over, and the issue of my foreignness publicly explored, there was little further notice of it among people who had met me, though there remained an abiding, neighborly interest in my comings and goings, and as one might expect of any close community, members of the hamlet seemed to know about my activities almost before I did. " a hamlet woman asked one day as she passed me only minutes after I had purchased the train tickets for my trip.

There was a moment of silence as the principal and I exchanged name cards and bows. The principal said a few words of welcome in Japanese, and then the teacher spoke a few hesitant words in English. I complimented him on his fluency. Later that day, Sh6-ichi beamed as he described my performance to Haruko. "She even praised the English teacher's English in front of the rest of us," he said. Both agreed that I was getting better at the game of social intercourse, Japanese style, which often seemed to involve suppressing one's real feelings and opinions for the sake of etiquette, group harmony, and "status" or "face," two words Sh6-ichi used frequently.

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