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It seems Japan is somewhat behind many other westernised countries when it comes to political correctness. Whilst studying today I discovered the literal meanings behind the Japanese words for "husband" and "wife".

Husband: shujin - meaning "master".

Wife: kanai - meaning "inside the house".

When talking about someone elses wife, use the polite form okusan - "someone in the back of the house".

My textbook notes that "while politically incorrect, these are used as there are no alternatives..."

Anyway, must be off to see if the woman has made my dinner.


Sexism in Japan

"Under the Allied Occupation in the years following the war, the status of women in Japan, at least on the surface, changed dramatically. As part of the new "postwar democracy," the ideal of the equality of the sexes was introduced to Japan and written into the new Constitution in the form of the rights to vote, to receive an education, and to receive equal opportunity employment. This new democracy, however, was imported rather than brought about by an indigenous movement, and the new rights for women were not demanded and won by the recipients themselves but bestowed from above. Largely for these reasons, the concept of sexual equality has not become fully rooted in Japanese society."


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