Between Home and School: Educational Strategies of Family and Maternal Employment in Japan

Between Home and School: Educational Strategies of Family and Maternal Employment in Japan

Keiko Hirao - Professor of Sociology, Sophia University, Tokyo

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Room 103, Henry R. Luce Hall See map
34 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 6511

During the last 40 years, the Japanese education system has become increasingly privatized. Most notable is the development of an extra-school education industry, – commonly known as juku, or cram schools – which has become an integral and almost indispensable part of the education in Japan. On average, parents of sixth graders spend more than $2,200 a year for extra-school programs, and the figure goes up for ninth graders: over $3,200.

Such a demand for privatized education raises the family’s need for financial resources, and thus one would think it provides incentives for mothers to work for pay. Is this really the case in Japan? This lecture will present some of the findings from research that focuses on the relationships between mothers’ work status and the children’s time spent at extra-school programs.

Keiko Hirao is Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at Sophia University, Tokyo. During the 2006-07 academic year, she is visiting the Department of Sociology at Harvard University as a Fulbright Scholar and an Abe Fellow. Her research interests include gender issues, the intersection of family and school, and intergenerational relations. Recently she has focused on parental investment in children’s education and how it is related to the structure of work and family. She will present findings from research related to her book chapter, “Privatized Education Market and Maternal Employment in Japan,” in Political Economy of Japan’s Low Fertility, edited by Frances McCall Rosenbluth, Stanford University Press, 2007.

Her recent publications include: “Contradictions in Maternal Roles in Contemporary Japan,” in Working and Mothering: Images, Ideologies and Identities, edited by Theresa W. Devasahayam and Brenda S.A. Yeoh, NIAS Press, 2006; and “Who Returns to the Labor Market? Hazard Analyses on the Rate of Return after Marriage and Childbirth.” Japanese Journal of Family Sociology 17, no. 1 (2005): 34-43 (in Japanese).