Helen Hardacre :: Japanese women are expected to manage the education of their children more or less on their own. Because Japan is such a competitive society, its not uncommon for children, even of nursery school age, to be attending a kind of cram school so that they can attend, or be admitted to, a prestigious primary school.
For many mothers, the consideration is how to create a situation in which the child will not be so pressured by examinations later on. How, for example, they might be able to have the child enter a school which will have a kind of escalator quality, so that having entered a good primary school, they can more or less automatically enter a good middle school, and then a good high school, without having to face the so-called education hell, which characterizes the competitive nature of Japanese education today.
However, to do this requires both that the mother take a great deal of responsibility for knowing how the educational system works, for persuading very young children to cooperate and to devote themselves to that kind of education, and furthermore, for overseeing the results all the way up to college. This is a full-time job for anyone. Its more than that when we consider that the mother is also expected to prepare the familys meals, to take care of its finances, and basically manage the household in all its aspects.