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Soc Sci Med. 2014 Apr;107:105-12. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.02.014. Epub 2014 Feb 14.

Gender difference in the health risk perception of radiation from Fukushima in Japan: the role of hegemonic masculinity.

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This paper presents the preliminary findings of gender difference in the perception of radiation risk in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. In-depth interviews were conducted with the residents of Fukushima and other parts of Japan in November 2011 and July 2012. Compared to mothers, fathers in general expressed less concern for radiation. Fathers prioritized their responsibilities as the breadwinner for their families and saw radiation risk as a threat to economic stability and masculine identity. As a result, mothers' health concerns were dismissed, and they were prevented from taking preventive actions. The social norms in the dominant institutions such as corporations and the government influenced men's perception of radiation risk. The findings illustrate the importance of sociocultural context in which meanings of health risk are constructed.


Culture; Gender identity; Health activism; Japan; Masculinity; Nuclear disaster; Risk perception; Work

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