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A Comparative Study Of Childcare And Motherhood In South Korea And Japan

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Chapter Summary

South Korea and Japan exhibit a number of similarities in their definitions of gender roles and gender norms. In both societies, modern gender-based divisions of labor and an M-curve pattern of women's labor-force participation emerged with industrialization. Compared to the case of Japan, where the construction of motherhood was greatly altered by industrialization, contemporary notions of motherhood in South Korea have two dimensions: the principles of patrilineality and Confucianism rooted in the Choson period and a modern sense of motherhood grounded in a gendered division of labor between the workplace and home. Women were valued in the pre-modern era when they bore sons as heirs to the headship of their jip (house and patrilineal line) and contributed to the social success of their husbands and sons through housework and childrearing. Indeed, rearing a successful son was a mother's only means of receiving public praise.

Keywords: Japan; Motherhood; South Korea



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