Steel Butterflies

Japanese Women and the American Experience

By Nancy Brown Diggs

Subjects: Japanese Studies
Paperback : 9780791436240, 212 pages, December 1997
Hardcover : 9780791436233, 212 pages, December 1997

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Table of contents



Part I. Strangers in a Strange Land

1. The First Japanese in America

2. Problems of Today's Sojourners

Part II. Women in Japan: The Private Sphere

3. Household Managers

4. Wives

5. Mothers

6. Metamorphoses

7. Looking Back

Part III. Women in Japan: The Public Sphere

8. An Overview

9. The Young Single Woman

10. The Working Mother

11. The Career Woman

12. Modern Times

Part IV. The American Experience

13. Profiles

14. Living Conditions

15. Choices, Restrictions

16. Education

17. American Women

18. Connections

Summing Up

Appendix A

Appendix B




Explores how Japanese women living in the United States see themselves and how they see American women.


Steel Butterflies: Japanese Women and the American Experience examines the role of women in Japan as compared to the United States, approaching the subject from a new and thought-provoking angle. Not only does the reader learn how Japanese women view their own country from the vantage point of living in the United States, but their candid remarks also give Americans the opportunity to see themselves as others see them.

Some of the topics discussed include education; ethics; the freedom—as well as the problems—of living in the United States; why Japanese women both envy and feel sorry for American women; and the past and future status of women in Japan. Steel Butterflies examines family life, women's responsibility in the home, community involvement both here and in Japan, aspects of Japanese culture they tried to keep alive in America, and their children's experiences. Grounded in thorough research, the book offers new insights into Japanese ways of thinking from those who have experienced both cultures.

Nancy Brown Diggs designed and teaches a course for adults called "Why Aren't the Japanese More Like Us?" at the Institute for Learning in Retirement at the University of Dayton and other centers, and frequently lectures to civic organizations about Japan. She is the author of Meet the Japanese and is coauthor (with Evangeline Lindsley) of My Century: An Outspoken Memoir.


"In many ways Japanese women possess a strength that belies their demure appearance. What I learned from Japanese women living in America validates this strength of the Japanese woman, which more than matches that of her American counterpart...I was surprised at how much we have in common." -- from the Introduction

"This is a readable, informative interesting, well-researched, thoughtful work." — H-Net Reviews (H-US-Japan)