Identity and category construction of the sengyoshufu (‘househusband’) in Japanese TV shows

a gendered division of labour in transition


  • Chie Fukuda University of Hawai‘i at Manoa



gendered division of labour, househusband, salaryman masculinity, conversation analysis, membership categorisation analysis


This study illustrates the discursive construction of the househusband in Japanese TV shows as a situated gender practice. Although the category of sengyoshufu ‘househusband’ has existed since at least the 1980s in Japan, the dominance of the ideology of ‘salaryman masculinity’ has ensured its marginalisation. The recent emergence of the househusband as a topic in mainstream media discourse reflects a social change in the gendered division of labour in Japan. Employing conversation analysis and membership categorisation analysis, this study explores how participants in TV shows constitute the identity and category of househusband, drawing on verbal and embodied resources in interaction. Through this analysis, the study reveals both positive and covertly negative attitudes towards househusbands, suggesting that the ‘traditional’ gendered division of labour in Japan is in transition.

Author Biography

Chie Fukuda, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa

Chie Fukuda received a PhD in Japanese at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her research interests include sociolinguistics and cultural studies in Japanese contexts. Her studies have been published in edited books as well as journals such as Research on Language and Social Interaction, Pragmatics, Journal of Pragmatics and Japanese Studies.


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How to Cite

Fukuda, C. (2020). Identity and category construction of the sengyoshufu (‘househusband’) in Japanese TV shows: a gendered division of labour in transition. Gender and Language, 14(3), 263–285.