Sexual harassment comes of age: A comparative analysis of the United States and Japan

Christopher Uggen, Chika Shinohara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Public consciousness of sexual harassment, or sekuhara, emerged much later in Japan than in the United States. This article, the first comparative study of sexual harassment in the two nations, explores how consciousness of a new legal category diffuses across nations and begins to take root in younger cohorts. Analyses of the U.S. General Social Survey and the Japanese Survey on Working Women's Consciousness show how age cohorts entering the labor force following major equal opportunity legislation report more sexual harassment than do older cohorts. We first conduct a separate nation-specific analysis and then pool the data sets to test for national differences with cross-product interaction terms. The effects of age, income, and job satisfaction all differ significantly between the United States and Japan. Family and life course factors are also important predictors, particularly in Japan. We interpret these results based on the extant literature on sexual harassment, legal consciousness over the life course, and comparative research on workplace behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-234
Number of pages34
JournalSociological Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009


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