• Tokyo


Why is it that many Japanese women are so outraged at health minister Hakuo Yanagisawa’s tactless remarks over Japan’s declining birthrate and the need for more babies?

Since the 1950s hasn’t it been the dream of nearly every middle-class mother in Japan that her son — not daughter — pass the entrance exam to enter one of the elite universities and then one of Japan’s major corporations? Such obsessed mothers gave little consideration to their child’s need for a normal childhood. The sole concern of such women was simply their own narrow ambitions for the child. They didn’t consider it abnormal to turn their children into “cram-school drones.”

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