Author: Forum Mithani | Pages: 111–129
The figure of the single mother has played an important role in Japanese television drama over several decades. In the 1960s and 1970s, the figure of the single mother was often used to uphold traditional, patriarchal notions of family and gender, which stressed the importance of the mother's role in childrearing and running the household, and limited the role of women to the domestic sphere. However, as female participation in all areas of society has increased, and women have begun to question the assumption that marriage and motherhood are an essential part of their lives, so Japanese television drama has responded, reflecting and sometimes anticipating these changes. Today, single mothers in Japanese television dramas are actively rejecting patriarchal structures by forming women-only support networks or forging new identities as independent career women. However, very little academic attention has been paid to these representations. This paper hopes to make a small contribution towards rectifying this situation by analyzing the representations of single motherhood in contemporary television drama.