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  1. Introduction of Female Suffrage
  2. Tokuju (Special Order) Boom and Female Workers
  3. Increase of Female Employees
  4. Popularity of American Style Fashion and Western Dressmaking
  5. Part-time Female Workers
  6. Women and Agriculture
  7. Ama (Female Diver)
  8. Marriage Retirement and Retirement Ages for Men and Women
  9. Office Ladies (OL)
  10. Dual Tracks in Female Occupations: Ippan Shoku (Non-Career Track) and Sōgō Shoku (Career Track)
  11. Laws Regarding Working Women
  12. Sexual Harassment
  13. Low Birth Rate and Working Women
  14. Separate Surnames for Married Couples
  15. Female dominant occupations
  16. “Mighty” Women: Police and the Military Self Defense Force
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Women diving under water
Ama collecting seaweed around the Island of Shikine, 1950.
Photo from Mainichi Shimbun.
Ama (Female Diver)
While women participated in new occupations, some traditional occupations have continued to be passed down through families. The occupation of ama is one of them. Ama are women who skin-dive in the ocean to catch fish, and collect clams, pearl oysters, and seaweed. They can be found on islands and shores in various parts of Japan. The ama have a long history and they were described in the Manyōshū, an ancient book of Japanese poetry that was edited in the eighth century. It is said that ama stay under the water for about fifty seconds, but some can dive for more than a minute. Ama start diving as teenage girls, and many continue diving past the age of seventy. Ama used to dive wearing only a cotton cloth wrapped around their hips, but nowadays they dive wearing cotton shirts or wetsuits.
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