The purpose of this study is to understand how parents are portrayed in picture books in different time periods in Japan. Based on the statistical analysis of 113 picture books published between 1977-2010, parental representations in texts and in illustrations of fathers, mothers, father-figures, and mother-figures were compared. To gather the societal trends in shifting parental roles over time, the analysis compared two different time periods (1977-1989; 1990-2010). The analysis focused on three categories: Parental appearances, by gender in texts and in illustrations; parental mentions in texts and co-appearances with children in illustrations; six parenting behaviors (nurturing, care-giving, guiding, companionship, disciplining, and providing) displayed by parents in texts and in illustrations. The results revealed that the overall representations of mothers in texts and in illustrations were higher than of fathers in Japanese picture books. The results of parenting behavior showed that fathers were portrayed more in providing, guiding, and companionship roles than in nurturing and care-giving roles in picture books selected for this study. The analysis revealed that the portrayal of parenting behaviors has changed overtime for a few domains. The study's findings bear implications for educators and parents, the field of early childhood education, the field of children's literature, and the field of father involvement. The study suggests the need for teachers, parents, and administrators serving children in early childhood years should expose children to books that portray gender neutral parenting roles. In addition, children's book authors need to balance representations of male and female parents and male and female parent-figures in texts and in illustrations in their stories. Moreover, there is the need for books that portray co-parenting roles of parents in single parent families highlighting the co-parenting responsibilities of parents irrespective of their residential status. It is critical that educational researchers examine books for gender-neutral parenting roles so that the findings of their studies inform and influence future authors' careful attention to how they portray fathers and mothers in their stories.
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 50/04M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Language arts, Asian literature, Early childhood education|
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