THE JAPANESE WOMAN

TRADITIONAL IMAGE AND CHANGING REALITY

A somewhat dry yet comprehensive report on Japanese women— from a professor of psychology (at Tokyo's Keio Univ.) and adviser on women's issues. Iwao reports that, not surprisingly, Japanese women—who have long been recognized as the dominant force in the home—have developed a different perspective from their US counterparts on equality, marriage, and a woman's role and identity. The author details the growing differences between the generations born between 1935-59, and those born in the 1960's or later—differences that predictably demonstrate a moving away from traditional deference to the husband, from working only in the home, and from the importance of marriage. Younger women enjoy a more egalitarian relationship with men, expect more from marriage, and anticipate having careers. But even these women are affected by the traditional tendency to value pragmatism over principle (Japanese women have legal equality but are reluctant to test it) and to be realistic about what is possible (they do not expect their husbands to be a best friend, nor themselves to be great successes). Less goal-oriented than her American counterpart, the contemporary Japanese woman values personal fulfillment, finds men's lives impossibly regimented, and ``believes that if one can achieve a workable balance among one's various roles, that is sufficient.'' Today, young women are entering corporations—but even this, Iwao contends, will not provoke confrontation. Instead, the old ``autonomy and separation of activity between the sexes will weaken, and, in Japan, where realism and pragmatism are highly prized and where evaluations are based on a long-term perspective, interdependence will be viewed affirmatively.'' An informative and useful contribution to mutual understanding—but marred by less than scintillating prose.

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 1992

ISBN: 0-02-932315-0

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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