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Hardback: $65.00
ISBN-13: 9780824866693
Published: December 2017
Paperback: $30.00
ISBN-13: 9780824866709
Published: January 2019
310 pages | 5 b&w illustrations

Rethinking Japanese Feminisms

  • About the Book
  • Rethinking Japanese Feminisms offers a broad overview of the great diversity of feminist thought and practice in Japan from the early twentieth century to the present. Drawing on methodologies and approaches from anthropology, cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, history, literature, media studies, and sociology, each chapter presents the results of research based on some combination of original archival research, careful textual analysis, ethnographic interviews, and participant observation.

    The volume is organized into sections focused on activism and activists, employment and education, literature and the arts, and boundary crossing. Some chapters shed light on ideas and practices that resonate with feminist thought but find expression through the work of writers, artists, activists, and laborers who have not typically been considered feminist; others revisit specific moments in the history of Japanese feminisms in order to complicate or challenge the dominant scholarly and popular understandings of specific activists, practices, and beliefs. The chapters are contextualized by an introduction that offers historical background on feminisms in Japan, and a forward-looking conclusion that considers what it means to rethink Japanese feminism at this historical juncture.

    Building on more than four decades of scholarship on feminisms in Japanese and English, as well as decades more on women’s history, Rethinking Japanese Feminisms offers a diverse and multivocal approach to scholarship on Japanese feminisms unmatched by existing publications. Written in language accessible to students and non-experts, it will be at home in the hands of students and scholars, as well as activists and others interested in gender, sexuality, and feminist theory and activism in Japan and in Asia more broadly.

  • About the Authors
    • Julia C. Bullock is associate professor of Japanese literature and culture at Emory University.
    • Ayako Kano is professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, and core faculty member in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
    • James Welker is associate professor in the Department of Cross-Cultural Studies at Kanagawa University in Yokohama, Japan.
    • Sarah Frederick is associate professor at Boston University, where she teaches Japanese literature, film, and popular culture. She is also the translator of Yellow Rose by Yoshiya Nobuko.
  • Reviews and Endorsements
    • What makes Rethinking Japanese Feminisms stand out is its sustained attention to feminisms; feminism hovers in the background of many studies of women and gender, but here it is foregrounded. . . . Three key themes from this volume stood out to me: first, a more richly textured understanding of the transwar period, one that emphasizes continuities as well as the complex landscape of the 1920s through the 1950s, an era that looks much messier and more transnational here than we normally appreciate (Bullock, Maxon, Faison, Frederick). The second concerns a much more nuanced understanding of the complicated trajectories of feminist movements—including the centrality of translation to these movements—and of more recent feminist politics and the backlash such politics have incited (Welker, Shigematsu, Seo, Vincent, Yamaguchi). The third area centers on finding women and feminism in unexpected places (Winston, Hartley, Hemmann) and the possibilities for women’s employment and sometimes financial independence in areas scholars seldom look (Stalker, McMorran). . . . Rethinking Japanese Feminisms showcases the diversity of Japanese feminisms across several axes and deserves a wide readership. The bookwill be useful in college and graduate classrooms. I hope that the volume’s complex, nuanced discussion of feminisms in Japan will make its way into more popular understandings.
      Journal of Japanese Studies
    • Bold and original, this interdisciplinary volume examines Japanese feminisms in fresh and surprising ways. Rogue writers, innkeepers, and Ikebana practitioners take their place alongside feminist heroes, educators, and activists. An excellent candidate for classroom use, this approachable, well-researched volume will no doubt incite student debate over what constitutes “feminism,” “activism,” and “Japanese feminisms.” An indispensable volume for all scholars of gender studies in Japan and beyond, Rethinking Japanese Feminisms gives us new ways to view the past and contemplate the future.
      —Jan Bardsley, author of Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan
    • This eclectic volume offers fresh and, in some instances, alternative interpretations, insights, and perspectives on key developments and events in the evolution of feminism in Japan and the impact and accomplishments of noted activists in feminist movements over the past century. Particularly fascinating are the chapters that unveil expressions of feminism in literary and artistic works hitherto given little attention by feminist scholars or even viewed as antithetical to feminism.
      —Kumiko Fujimura-Fanselow, editor of Transforming Japan: How Feminism and Diversity Are Making a Difference
  • Subject Areas