From ‘bari-kyari’ to ‘himono-onna’: The habit of labeling women In Japan

By Aya Satoh Hoshina

If you’ve lived in Japan for a while now you may have overheard people saying things like: “She’s sure an age-man, her husband got promoted right after they got married,” or “That girl is so nikushoku-joshi, she doesn’t care if the guy she has a crush on has a girlfriend or not. She just goes for him,” — or, “I was a bari-kyari until I got pregnant. Now, I’m a yuru-kyari and earn less than before, but I’m glad I made that decision because everyone in my family is happy!”

Age-man, nikushoku-joshi, bari-kyari, yuru-kyari. These are all words and phrases that categorize and describe a particular type of women. You’ve probably noticed that Japanese women like to and tend to categorize others – and themselves – based on their personality, actions and behaviors, as well as how they’d chosen to live their lives.

This tendency probably has a lot to do with the importance of wa (group harmony) in the Japanese society – how one should always belong in and conform to a group, and be both dependent on and responsible to other members of that group. This, I believe, is why there are so many categories/groups out there for Japanese women – and why at joshi-kai (women’s get-together) and other similar occasions, you’ll hear remarks such as the ones above made over and over again.

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© Savvy Tokyo

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I don't think it's just the labeling of women, Japan loves labeling and assigning categories to pretty much everyone. You've got to fall under a certain category to have any sense of identity it seems

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Steven you beat me to it.

I was just going to say that

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Indeed, this is not specific to women...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Never heard of them, but then again I am not into gossip and rumors. I have a life.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

And that's why the illogical blood type grouping thing is so big here in Japan. Still it's pretty harmless in the scheme of things but onnashachou pisses me off. It's so demeaning.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan loves labeling and assigning categories to pretty much everyone...

Saying so, of course, is a categorization. Nobody is free from categorization.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It doesn't make differences in genders, for sure. Well, I love my Kakaa denka, anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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