From the 28th to the 29th of the 20th (G20) Osaka Summit, female empowerment is one of the themes.
The G20 believes that women’s empowerment is critical to achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth. During Japan’s presidency, the discussion focused on three areas: promoting the realization of women’s commitment to join the labor market; strengthening support for women’s education – including science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and promoting the participation of women business leaders and entrepreneurs .
The G20 said it will continue to advance the 25/25 commitment made at the Brisbane Summit in 2014: to reduce the gender gap in the labor market by 25% by 2025.
Specific to Japan. Women’s employment has always been a “difficult problem” and the Japanese economy has paid a price for it. In the past few years, the Abe government has introduced a series of measures aimed at facilitating women’s employment. How’s the effect? Reporter Amy Gutman tasted high-end sushi at a restaurant in Tokyo and had a field trip.
Ginza, Tokyo’s most luxurious and stylish business district. The kitchen is open, and the 35-year-old chef Pu Yuan puts a beautiful wooden tray in front of me.
Kaiseki cuisine pursues the ultimate taste of ingredients
Woman hand is too small to make sushi
Japanese women are traditionally responsible for caring for the elderly and children.
I have not heard of the above ingredients, and I can’t imagine it. For example, Artemisia argyi leaves, homemade tofu, scallions, sautéed skin, abalone, crab meat… all kinds of ingredients are carefully placed, accompanied by beautiful cherry blossoms, this dish is almost a handy pocket garden.
Tasting, the taste of the food is really new and unique. However, the experience of eating this meal is even more unusual. Because, this is my turtle crane building! The turtle crane tower enjoys a high reputation for Japanese high-end cuisine Kaiseki cuisine, and all employees here are women.
Kaiseki cuisine is a traditional Japanese cuisine. It is more particular, pays attention to the sense of ritual and emphasizes the use of seasonal ingredients. A meal of Kaiseki includes a lot of dishes, each one is small and perfect.
What is Kaiseki cuisine?
Kaiseki is regarded as the pinnacle of Japanese cuisine. It is not just a meal, it is also an art.
Kaiseki and tea ceremony were born in Kyoto, the ancient city of Japan. According to records, “Kaiseki” originally refers to the monks who practiced holding warm stones in their arms to drive hunger.
There is no fixed menu for Kaiseki cuisine. It is just a pocket-sized rice, soup, dish, dessert, etc.
Kaiseki cuisine pays attention to the use of seasonal ingredients, and pursues the ultimate taste of the ingredients. Moreover, the utensils for food are also very particular.
Being a Kaiseki chef may take 12 years of training and training. If you are a woman, it may take longer. Because in Japan, the vast majority of chefs and restaurant owners are men, women are hard to get attention and reuse.
The Three Kingdoms Spring Beauty and the husband of the Three Kingdoms worms opened the first restaurant in 1989. At the time, most of the female chefs in Japan could only work in corporate restaurants or industrial kitchens. Over the past 30 years, the chefs of the three countries have trained in their nine restaurants, both male and female. In 2016, they opened the 10th restaurant, the turtle crane building, all employing female employees.
This is no small challenge in a more traditional, conservative, male-dominated Japanese society.
Why is there no female sushi chef in Japan?
In Japan, women are traditionally not trained to become sushi masters. There are many reasons for this, such as women with higher body temperature, too hot hands will affect the quality of raw fish; hands are too small; the taste of cosmetics will affect their sense of smell.
In Japan, the chefs of women’s sushi and Kaiseki are still rare, and women who are famous chefs and managers in high-end, famous restaurants are rare.
Japan is a developed country, but progress in promoting true gender equality is rather slow, and the turtle crane tower is at the forefront of the times.
Sato Zhidai is 51 years old. She is one of the first female chefs to follow the three countries. She told me, “When I debuted 32 years ago, other options might be only company restaurants or school cafeterias.”
For a long time, the role of Japanese women has always been to care for the family, the elderly, and to nurture the next generation. Although Japan’s high technology is world-renowned, for women, the modernization of society is very slow. The proportion of female parliamentarians in the Japanese parliament is almost lower than that of all other developed countries.
Japanese young generation does not want to work like a father
Tradition is still the mainstream, coupled with the shortage of kindergartens and overtime work, many women will not return to full-time work after giving birth, let alone pursue promotion. The Japanese economy has paid a heavy price for this.
In 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the output was too low and the government must take action.
Abe has launched a series of policies aimed at facilitating women’s return to the workplace and promoting the development of the Japanese economy. These initiatives have thus been named “female economics.” Specific measures include encouraging companies to promote female managers; the government formulating rules and regulations on overtime work; and pledging to open more kindergartens.
In the past few years, the results of “female economics” have been mixed. Indeed, the number of women returning to work has increased, but most of them are still trapped in lower-paying jobs or just part-time jobs.
In 2017, some big Japanese companies also started to solve this problem.
A male-dominated large construction company offers weekend training classes for employees and their families to teach how to share household chores more equally. The company also offers a more flexible and flexible work system for couples who work here.
Among the couple, the wife’s position is higher, so the husband can shorten the working hours and take on more responsibility for caring for the child. The wife said very proudly to me, “I am very rare among my friends and even all Japanese women. My friends envy me.”
Once upon a time, the balance of work and life in Japan was only a foreign concept and is now mentioned as a higher status on the agenda. Many young Japanese are unwilling to work like their parents, work overtime, and have to socialize after work. Now, Millennials will also choose to find jobs in emerging companies, rather than large, long-established companies, for a better quality of life.
Changping worked for a recently established US software company. She told me, “I am looking for this job to open a branch for a US startup in Japan. In this way, we have more autonomy in working hours and corporate culture.”
Mengzi founded his own technology company and co-organized a group called “Emerging Women” with others. She said that independent entrepreneurship can give women a better choice. “Now women can have more opportunities after they have children, because they realize that taking maternity leave does not necessarily have to return to the original company, but they can start their own business. “”
Indeed, some Japanese women are in the sea, but for the vast majority of women, Japanese companies and companies must change their culture so that they can get the balance of work and life they want.
This is also the idea that Puyuan joined the turtle crane tower 12 years ago. “The chefs do this level and have very few choices. There are fewer female chefs who can work for 20 years and get married and have children. However, I can imagine that I can still work here after I get married and have children!”