Japanese men are showing a "softer" side at work and in the home but some of their traditional masculine attitudes are still prevailing, according to new research by Cambridge University.

Graduates and academics have produced a book looking at how Japanese men are slowly changing their approach to home and work life in the midst of wider shifts in society and greater economic uncertainty.

The research, however, indicates the changes may be less substantial than they appear at first glance. There is suspicion that media images of "new" and "cool" men could be more to do with advertisers trying to tap new markets.