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The Rise of Shojo Culture, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1152

Essay

The importance of Shojo culture, and its impact on the Japanese lifestyle, especially in regards to women in Japan, is quite notable in relation to the concept of the ‘fighting girl’. The word ‘Shojo’ literally means ‘little girl’, and relates to the way of life of younger girls in Japan.

Shojo culture has started to become a trend amongst younger women, in relation to the breaking out of the traditional stereotypes and challenging the general vocation of women. As a modern form of culture, it has begun to spread, as women yearn to be socially accepted and more productive as an instrumental part of the Japanese culture. As focused on a ‘pre-teen, teenage’ age group, it has shaped the identify of girls this age across the country, in both art, cinema and role model form.

In addition, women who embrace the Shojo culture have become more career-minded, drifting away from the rather ‘typical’ stay-at-home mother. Some of the background elements that have influenced this form of culture have been both the war and politics. Both before and after the war, women were drawn into trades and business, to support their families and provide a form of income while their husbands or siblings were fighting in battle. After the war, politicians also began encouraging women to continue in their business or career pursuits, as more and more women were taking up positions in politics and other positions.

An impactful portraying of the impact of Shojo culture on various art and cinematic forms is shown in Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind1. It follows the story of a brave princess who lives in a far-away Earth planet, which seems to be dying. The ideology that a woman would have such importance on a world-scale was quite important to women who embraced the Shojo culture. To be recognized and valued is central to this culture, and it aims to move away from criticizing women to seeing their significance.

Unlike the saying in traditional Japanese culture which emphasizes the “good wife, good mother”, socialism and the liberation of women have moved to encompass Shojo culture2. The concept of the “fight to survive” is very crucial to Shojo culture, and has assisted in increasing its popularity. In such a populated country, the importance of women for decades has been suppressed, but thanks to the Shojo culture, is slowly beginning to come to the surface.

This contemporary move has sparked both criticism and acceptance. Although some men still resent the fact that women are on the rise, much of higher society has come to accept women’s importance as a fact to be considered. The refusal to be put down has also encouraged women to become more autonomous, and also a sign of authority to be recognized. Due to gender subversion, the Shojo culture still has a way to go, but is still an important factor becoming critical in changing the status of women across the country.

The feminine nature and its relation to civilization’s rapid change is also a central part of the transforming face of the Japanese culture. It has offered a choice to all Japanese women: to remain in servitude, or become self-sufficient. Many women have obviously chosen the latter, and it seems to be paying dividends, at least in relation to the improvement in lifestyle.

Economically, women have begun to take up many jobs that were traditionally reserved for men only. A better understanding of the way the world works, thanks once again to the Shojo culture, have seen improvements for women across the spectrum. Intellectual and social pursuits have become more appealing, and women are able to advance in these pursuits quite rapidly, to both the amazement and surprise of men and women themselves.

As mentioned earlier, there have been many events in recent history that has allowed Shojo culture to prosper, including the war and other factors buried deep in Japanese history3. The way that this culture works has been to avoid prejudice towards women for the pursuit of a better life, one in which they have rejected the concept of a man’s world, and turned it into the perspective of a woman’s world, one in which it is possible to accomplish anything.

This wave of culture has had impacts on people all over Japan, not just women who fit into the Shojo motif, but women in general. Both older and younger women have come to realize the positive effects that this culture is having in both the hearts and minds of Japanese young women. It is no longer a theory that will one day be realized, but an actual move of cultural impact that is occurring at this point in time. Although debated and sometimes ridiculed, it cannot be ignored. Shojo culture is taking over modern-day Japan, and what people choose to accept is being challenged in a whole new way. Younger girls who follow Shojo culture are being recognized as heroines of the women’s cause. Whether this trend will continue or fade out is one to be seen, but history in time will tell.

As this popular culture gains momentum, there are a few questions that need to be posed. Firstly, what will happen to the traditional culture that for so long has been inherent in the Japanese culture; has it disappeared or beginning to disappear? Secondly, what impact has Shojo culture had, and can it be measured in terms of country or even international forces? Lastly, what will Shojo culture become, if it is such a force? This paper has answered some of these questions, but it is up to the people of Japan to fill in the gaps; especially the women who call themselves ‘the fighting girl’.

In conclusion, it can be seen that this culture is prevalent amongst women who are in their adolescence, especially as the tradition tends to be expected in post-war times. This type of thinking was common amongst women of the time, and still seems to appeal to those who follow in their footsteps. The social overtones of such a culture are still evident, and it reveals a picture of what life is like in reality for the women of Japanese society. In particular, it is important to see that they have chosen to live this way, and have not been forced. This is the way that culture imitates life, and vice versa; to a point where it becomes a tradition handed down from generation to generation. Many prominent figures in Japanese history have also followed in the example portrayed in this article, and it has had ripple effects throughout the country.

Reference List

Raiteri, Steve. Art of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind: Watercolor Impressions. Library Journal. 133.1. (2008): 73-73. Print.

Kenko, Kawasaki. “Osaki Midori and the Role of the Girl in Showa Modernism”. Asian Study Review. 32.3. (2008): 293-306. Print.

Bae, Catherine Yoonah. “Girls Meets Boy Meets Girl: Heterosocial Relation, Wholesome Youth, and Democracy in Postwar Japan”. Asian Studies Review. 32.3. (2008): 341-360. Print.

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