Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies

First Advisor

Jeff Bayliss

Second Advisor

Janet Bauer

Third Advisor

Beth Antrim


In the after-math of World War II, the Japanese workplace and family were largely defined by the nuclear family. Women were primarily expected to stay at home to look after the home, while men were expected to enter the workforce as salaryman. Following international economic success, the salaryman became the symbol of masculine power for decades to come. Work for the salaryman was difficult, but certain benefits like lifetime employment ensured them job security within ones company up until retirement. But, with the bubble-economy collapse of the 1990s, resulted in the loss of this vital component of the salaryman, resulting in a decreased sense of job stability and prosperity. This loss of stability dealt a bruise to the salaryman masculine image, resulting in slow shifts in both home and work life. In this essay, I will evaluate these changes within the home and office and analyze its effects on the masculine salaryman hegemonic role, women, and the hikikomori, a group of young non-working shut-ins that have risen in awareness in the public sphere over the past two decades. Overtime, the dichotomy between masculinity in the office and women at home has changed very slowly. With the social implications of the hikikomori, part-time workers, impending labor shortage and tendency to marry later, profound changes in salaryman masculinity and the family seem to be on the horizon.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in International Studies.