Gender construction in five Japanese serial dramas: Fantasy and the real lives of Japanese youth

Elizabeth Kristi Poerwandari, Tara De Thouars, Keiko Hirano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to capture how gender is constructed in Japanese serial dramas and to see whether they provide new or different roles and values. This study looks at five Japanese serial dramas which include: "Anego," "Jotei," "Magerarenai Onna," "Ohitorisama" and "Freeter Ie O Kau." The research results can be grouped under a few dominant themes. It was observed that the majority of women in these dramas are still trapped in stereotypical feminine roles who may try to struggle for independence but still face several obstacles and misery. However, a small number of women (the main protagonists of these dramas) fight to embrace different female identities. These serials also suggest a new construction of gender ideology and relations, whereby women and men can develop more equal partnerships and more liberated non-stereotypical sexual relations. The dramas selected in this study reflect the complex lives of people in contemporary Japan, the challenges they face in the context of economic hardship, and the dreams or fantasies about different and possible new lives. Essentially, media plays quite a significant role in influencing people and in the construction of new ways of life. With changing gender ideology and relations, serial dramas are gradually constructing new norms in real lives for the young generation in contemporary Japan. Because these dramas are also popular in Indonesia, we present some data on their influence in the lives of Indonesian youth as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-132
Number of pages36
JournalAsian Journal of Women's Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Cultural studies
  • Gender construction
  • Gender relations
  • Japan
  • Japanese serial dramas
  • Sexuality


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