American Home Life as a Model for New Japan
Applicants for meido positions had a variety of reasons for applying. Chief among them was the relatively high wages, together with the opportunity to develop English language skills and gain first-hand experience of American home life. These women were eager to learn new home management skills, from cooking and cleaning to childrearing and table manners. A majority of Japanese women were unfamiliar with emerging household technologies and Western household management, which seemed well structured and efficient in their eyes. It became a popular notion that it was American domestic science that afforded American housewives the time to go shopping and hold family parties so frequently. In fact, for many American housewives who relocated to Japan during the Occupation, the life they enjoyed there was more luxurious than they could have dreamed of at home.
“Domestic life in an American home is organized to give a maximum amount of leisure time to the homemaker. I shall be very happy if these hints on American domestic life help Japanese women in rebuilding their home life for a happier Japan.”
Keiko Matsumoto, the author of “What is served in an American Family-Cooking Guide for Japanese Homemakers,” April 1948