Tanaka Yoko (Professor of Economic History, International and Advanced Japanese Studies, the University of Tsukuba; HYI Visiting Scholar)
Chair/discussant: Andrew Gordon (Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History, Harvard University)
 
Co-sponsored with the Reischauer Institute
 
Since industrialization began to change how people worked in a growing
number of countries, industrial and workforce structures have been
continuously transformed. Employment increased, while the number of
peasants, self-employed, and family helpers decreased. Then the volume
of employment shifted from manual or skilled male-dominated work in
heavy industries toward service industries with a female-majority
workforce. This is clearly seen in Japan, Germany, and the US, but also
in many other countries including Korea and China. This
shift toward the service economy contains, though, an increasing trend
to employ people not in the manner of the male employees in the heavy
industries, who often had secure jobs with some salary and career
prospects, a social and/or corporate safety net, and relatively
long-term skill development: in short, good jobs. On the contrary,
employees in the service sector, many of whom are women, tend to be
employed part-time, doing contract or agency work, or even working as
individual independent contractors, all types of work which can be more
precarious and less stable than that of secure, long-term employment. 
This
talk examines a convergence toward the service economy, and changes to
the employment structure of these female-oriented industries. It
investigates furthermore how labor conditions in the service economy can
still be differently embedded in each society with rather divergent
prospects, particularly focusing on the retail industry in Germany and
Japan.