Embodying Japan: Cultures of Sport, Beauty, and Medicine 2017

The Salaryman Identity As An Ideal For Nationalism and Success

The promotion of capitalism and Japan's motivation for economic growth has created an ideal identity, the salaryman, for Japanese males to fulfill. As mentioned in Disgupta’s essay, there is an underlying hegemony that many try to achieve and constitutes what a majority would consider successful factors (191). These factors are typically include heterosexuality, being white male, and working class. However, this is an ideal that many people strive for yet cannot measure up or achieve completely (Disgupta 191). Despite this, it is associated with success in terms of financial gain, and is a nationalistic identity that capitalistic Japan strives for. Shannon Brook's page on "Commodification of Identity" explains more about how this identity has been hegemonized for the benefit of the state.

This hegemony has been developed into the Japanese society and formed the Salaryman identity. By contributing their labor and being part of the economic workforce, these salarymen are not only able to support their country, but also be the main source of income for his family (Nemeth 15). Supporting a nuclear heterosexual family and also contributing to the monetary success of Japan would fulfill the hegemony that is said to determine success. This makes the salaryman a notable nationalistic identity: one that Japanese society believes will achieve economic and societal gain for the country. David Takamiya's page on the salaryman further delves into how the salaryman model is representative of a standard white and masculine hegemony and its idolized characteristics that contribute to being a "corporate warrior".

However, "the salaryman" is idealistic and cannot be easily achieved by a Japanese civilian. Those who become salaryman sometimes feel that they must put on a performance, and societal norms pressure this identity onto males who may not feel satisfied when they conform (Disgupta 192). This dehumanizes the male body as it is physically unhealthy for people to be overworked. Labor put before individual enacting the labor, causing them to develop karoshi, which will be explored on the next page.

Works Cited
Dasgupta, Romit. "Performing Masculinities? The 'Salaryman' at Work and Play." Academia. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Mar. 2017. <http://www.academia.edu/3691372/Performing_Masculinities_The_Salaryman_at_Work_and_Play>.

Nemeth, Barbara. "Masculinities in Japan." (2014): n. pag. Web. 27 Apr. 2017. <http://theses.cz/id/w3ov0n/Diplomova_Praca_Barbara_Nemeth.pdf>.

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