Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lynne Miyake

Reader 2

Peter A. Flueckiger

Reader 3

Bruce Coats

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2014 Nicole S. Ogawa-Yukitomo


This study is an initial attempt to investigate the relationship between the portrayal of Japanese OL or “Office Ladies” in different media: formal scholarly studies on OL and informal sources such as recruiting lectures, online articles, and Japanese magazines that target OL, specifically CanCam, Sweet, and JJ. The term OL has generally been used to describe a short-term low-paying clerical position, requiring minimal skills, for young women primarily age 20s to 30s. The OL position can thus be seen as a gendered profession with little corporate mobility. However, most of the websites and magazines for these working women feature articles on the latest styles and are full of fashionable attractive women advertising the latest designer goods and the up and coming designer must-have brands of the season. With the skyrocketing of the Japanese economy in the pose-WWII era, women have become the country’s primary consumers, and OL appear to be playing a central role in this new consumer-heavy culture. Thus using both scholarly and primary sources, this thesis will explore this gap between the reality of OL and the romanticized version portrayed in these magazines. Although scholarly sources often depict the OL lifestyle to be tedious, gendered, and overall unfavorable for workingwomen in Japan, my thesis hopes to explore the positive aspects of the OL lifestyle as well and examine the reasons why women buy into this OL culture via these magazines and sites.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.