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After the fierce class struggles in the first postwar years, a societal model describing Japan as a general middle-class society with outstanding equality in opportunities and outcome became dominant. In recent years, a new societal model of Japan as a divided society has replaced this general middle-class model. Nonetheless, empirical research and comparative studies neither fully support a model of Japan as an exceptionally equal society from the 1960s onward nor do they show a fundamentaldoi:10.1093/ssjj/jyn022 fatcat:jlbuf7cqq5ffpgnhv6o2ivfd6y