Balancing work and family in future Japan

Note from Editor: Students are reading Anne Allison’s book Precarious Japan, and sharing their thoughts on how their own future plans are impacted by the instability and insecurity that Allison describes.

by Tomomi Hosokawa

I want to work with taking care of my children in the future. This is because I want to let my children challenge anything they have interest, as my parents let me do. For example, when I was an elementary school student, I was taking four kinds of lessons, shodo, piano, tennis and cram school. I continued them until I graduated from elementary school, about six years. I appreciate my parents giving me the opportunity to have good experiences.

However, my family is not so rich, so both my parents are working. My mother is working so hard and she is very busy, but when I was sick in bed, she took me to the hospital and nursed me. I believe that she could do so thanks to the system of the company she works on. She works in a division in which all of the workers are women. In addition, most of them have children. They know how hard housework and taking care of children are. Therefore, when something happen to children, other workers help their mother, and she can go to see children, like my experience. Instead, when other person cannot work, she helps her.

According to Allison, the difference between men and women on salary or position of job is obvious. However, this situation is changing in the future. Women will have more opportunities to be promoted, but this also means women may be away from home. Of course, children will still need someone to care for them, so if both of parents have to work, they may give up either having children or better circumstances. If I will be in the same situation, I may give up having children because I do not know whether I will have enough money to take care of my children. I think it is irresponsible to have children in that situation. In order to prevent this, I believe the system like the company my mother is working for is useful. Of course, enough coverage like childcare leave for both women and men or no indiscriminate of position or salary to who have children is necessary, taking this future circumstance into consideration. However, I think only the coverage is not enough. I hope to have a good workplace environment. If there is a system for workers who have children to support each other, like my mother’s, we can feel relieved because we can control the job flexibly for children. Also, because there are many workers who have the same situation as us, we can understand that other workers go home before the work is out or absence. Also, we can cover the absence on the other day when other person cannot work. These matters can remove anxiety about being looked coldly. There are many cases that such workers were blamed by their co-workers. I believe both monetary and mental support are needed in this society.


Allison, Anne. 2013. Precarious Japan. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

One thought on “Balancing work and family in future Japan

  1. Pingback: Avoiding becoming a Christmas cake | JAPANsociology

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