Gender and Body in Japanese Women’s Fiction

The Other Women's LibThe Other Women’s Lib: Gender and Body in Japanese Women’s Fiction, by Julia C. Bullock, provides the first systematic analysis of Japanese literary feminist discourse of the 1960s—a full decade before the “women’s lib” movement emerged in Japan. It highlights the work of three well-known female fiction writers of this generation (Kono Taeko, Takahashi Takako, and Kurahashi Yumiko) for their avant-garde literary challenges to dominant models of femininity. Focusing on four tropes persistently employed by these writers to protest oppressive gender stereotypes—the disciplinary masculine gaze, feminist misogyny, “odd bodies,” and female homoeroticism—Julia Bullock brings to the fore their previously unrecognized theoretical contributions to second-wave radical feminist discourse.

“Julia Bullock’s lively study fills a significant lacuna in our understanding of feminist theoretical development prior to the women’s lib movement of the 1970s. Dealing with three of the most fascinating and challenging authors of the era, Bullock’s sustained literary analyses are adroit, illuminating, and informative. Her study is lucid enough to open itself to bright undergraduates, but provocative enough to engage seasoned scholars of modern literature.” —Rebecca Copeland, author of Lost Leaves: Women Writers of Meiji Japan

April 2010 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3453-1 / $25.00 (PAPER)