© 2012

Housewives of Japan

An Ethnography of Real Lives and Consumerized Domesticity

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxv
  2. A Collaborative Quest for Understanding “Sengyō Shufu”

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
  3. The Women of Royal Heights

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 53-53
    2. Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni
      Pages 57-80
  4. Housewives as Women in Postbubble Japan

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 143-143
    2. Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni
      Pages 147-186
    3. Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni
      Pages 189-212
  5. Afterword

    1. Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni
      Pages 217-224
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 225-273

About this book


Drawing on a unique ethnographic inquiry, Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni explores the complexities of the relationship between socially and culturally constructed roles bestowed on Japanese women by a variety of state agents, including the market and the media, and the 'real' lives of these women.


ethnography media state women

About the authors

OFRA GOLDSTEIN-GIDONI is the chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University, Israel, where she holds a joint position with the Department of East Asian Studies. She is the author of Packaged Japaneseness: Weddings, Business and Brides.

Bibliographic information


"A fascinating book about what it means and feels like to be a housewife in 2000s Japan . . . This is an imminently readable book that engages Japanese history, gender theory, and media studies to describe the options facing housewives in the contemporary moment. As omnipresent as housewives remain, this book shows us how varied and reflective they can be about their status, responsibilities, and degrees of satisfaction." - American Ethnologist

"An innovative attempt to trace the history and lived experience of Japanese "professional housewives." From popular media portrayals to 'housewife debates' and government propaganda tying women to domesticity even in the 2000s, Goldstein-Gidoni demonstrates the strength of the forces that propagate the housewife paradigm even as she reveals women's myriad responses to this lifestyle in the post-Bubble era. " - Glenda S. Roberts, Professor and Director of International Studies, Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University, Japan

"Goldstein-Gidoni gives voice to the lives and work of 'professional' housewives and to the vicissitudes of that especially salient category and status of Japanese women. Her work is a new and welcome addition to a long genealogy of the literature on Japanese housewives, and is the first, to my knowledge, to combine information about 'the professional housewife' with a reflexive interrogation of the process of ethnographic fieldwork. This book will greatly augment and update the body of scholarship on Japanese housewives and state formation from the perspective of domesticity." - Jennifer Robertson, Professor of Anthropology and the History of Art, University of Michigan, USA