From Publishers Weekly
In her fifth book, Chambers (Mama's Girl
) reports on dramatic changes in women's lives in postbust Japan, where, she notes, men are no longer the "financial titans" and where women—international travelers and avid consumers—are now driving the economy. Yet, Chambers says, rampant consumerism masks the true complexity of these women's lives as they negotiate the divide between Japan's traditions and their own more career-centered outlook. With compassion and warm wit, the author talks to successful Japanese women—from hip-hop superstars to senior corporate executives and entrepreneurs—about their education, careers, personal lives and aspirations, and about the social norms they face as they carve out a bold new existence in a country wedded to tradition. Chambers portrays her subjects as social pioneers operating in a cultural vacuum, without the support of a widespread women's movement. Chambers captures a gender clash, in which young Japanese women despair of Japanese men's cultural insularity and inability to lose face. (She also interviews men who seek to break with stereotypic Japanese masculinity.) Writing in a hip, visually vivid and entertaining style, Chambers fluently places the courage and isolation of these women in a briefly sketched social and economic context, noting that "today's young career women—entrepreneurial, independent—have more [in common] with their hard-working grandmothers than they do with their Bubble Economy housewife mothers." (Jan. 9)
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"A charming adventure and a compelling account of cultural exploration. My own misconceptions about Japan melted away as I read this book. With vivid color, Veronica Chambers portrays a pastiche of Japanese lives: a hip-hopper, a jewelry designer, a snowboarder, a lesbian legislator, an IBM executive. She explains Japan's obsession with Audrey Hepburn, describes the blossoming sex clubs for women, and outlines why so many newlyweds get divorced upon return from their honeymoons. Kickboxing Geishas
finds universal humanity in the paradoxes and vibrancy of Japanese women."
-- Seth Faison, author of South of the Clouds: Exploring the Hidden Realms of China and former Shanghai Bureau Chief for The New York Times
"Finally, a book that goes beyond the stereotypes to show real Japanese women in all their complexity. Chambers gets below the surface of Japanese society to reveal a side of the country most foreigners never see. Kickboxing Geishas is an engaging account of the tremendous changes sweeping Japanese society."
-- Rochelle Kopp, author of The Rice-Paper Ceiling: Breaking through Japanese Corporate Culture
"Kickboxing Geishas is a knockout! Veronica Chambers punches through the 'shoji screen' that separates the true lives of Japanese women from the stereotypes that surround them. Her reporting is as fascinating as it is appealing, her insights as surprising as they are generous."
-- Aimee Liu, author of Cloud Mountain
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.