In The Japanese "New Woman," Dina Lowy focuses on this new female image as it was revealed, discussed, and debated in popular newspapers and magazines in the 1910s, as well as on the lives of a specific group of women--members of the feminist literary organization known as the Seitosha.
Her approach adds to the recent Japanese feminist discovery of male patrons editing the work of women writers to conform to expectations of femininity by relating gendered institutional practices in the publishing industry to the rise of mass female readership and the increasingly polarized environment in politics and the arts
Raicho Hiratsuka (1886-1971) was the most influential figure in Japan's early women's movement. In 1911, she established Bluestocking (Seito), Japan's first literary journal run by women. In 1920, she founded the New Women's Association, Japan's first nationwide women's organization to campaign for female suffrage. Soon after World War II, she organized the Japan Federation of Women's Organizations. In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun is Raicho Hiratsuka's autobiography, recounting her rebellion against the strict social codes of the time. Hiratsuka came from an upper-middle class Tokyo family, and her restless quest for truth led to intensive Zen training at Japan Women's College. After graduation, she gained brief notoriety for her affair with a married writer but quickly established herself as a brilliant and articulate leader of feminist causes. This richly detailed memoir presents a woman who was at once idealistic and elitist, fearless and vain, and a perceptive observer of society.
In 'Japanese Women and Sport', Robin Kietlinski sets out to problematize the hegemonic image of the delicate Japanese woman, highlighting an overlooked area in the history of modern Japan. Previous studies of gender in the Japanese context do not explore the history of female participation in sport, and recent academic studies of women and sport tend to focus on Western countries. Kietlinski locates the discussion of Japanese women in sport within a larger East Asian context and considers the socio-economic position and history of modern Japan. Reaching from the early 20th century to the present day, Kietlinski traces the progression of Japanese women's participation in sport from the first female school for physical education and the foundations of competitive sport through to their growing presence in the Olympics and international sport.
Re-Imaging Japanese Women takes a revealing look at women whose voices have only recently begun to be heard in Japanese society: politicians, practitioners of traditional arts, writers, radicals, wives, mothers, bar hostesses, department store and blue-collar workers. This unique collection of essays gives a broad, interdisciplinary view of contemporary Japanese women while challenging readers to see the development of Japanese women's lives against the backdrop of domestic and global change. These essays provide a "second generation" analysis of roles, issues and social change. The collection brings up to date the work begun in Gail Lee Bernstein's Recreating Japanese Women, 1600-1945 (California, 1991), exploring disparities between the current range of images of Japanese women and the reality behind the choices women make.
Kawaii. The love of all things cute has become the dominant image of Japanese girls and women. Real Japanese women are, however, more complex. Some celebrate their uterus, others experiment with fashion and cross- dressing or embrace their chubbiness, many struggle with motherhood. And some may even return as vengeful ghosts. This third collection of studies by young scholars from the University of Cambridge looks beyond the kawaii image and explores the diversity and complexity of being a Japanese woman in the new millennium.
The Outsider Within contains ten articles written by new and veteran scholars of Japanese women writers, both from the U.S. and abroad, with a focus on their fictional works available in English translation. Preceded by a general introduction, which discusses the position of the Japanese woman writer as an outsider within their native society, the ten essays offer general information on Japanese women's literature, society, and culture, along with detailed analyses of individual works.
This volume contains some of the most recent findings in the field of Japanese women's history in Japan, Australia, the United States and the UK, and introduces new approaches to studying Japanese women's history.
Forget the stereotypes. Today's Japanese women are shattering them -- breaking the bonds of tradition and dramatically transforming their culture. Shopping-crazed schoolgirls in Hello Kitty costumes and the Harajuku girls Gwen Stefani helped make so popular have grabbed the media's attention. But as critically acclaimed author Veronica Chambers has discovered through years of returning to Japan and interviewing Japanese women, the more interesting story is that of the legions of everyday women -- from the office suites to radio and TV studios to the worlds of art and fashion and on to the halls of government -- who have kicked off a revolution in their country. Japanese men hardly know what has hit them. In a single generation, women in Japan have rewritten the rules in both the bedroom and the boardroom. Not a day goes by in Japan that a powerful woman doesn't make the front page of the newspapers. In the face of still-fierce sexism, a new breed of women is breaking through the "rice paper ceiling" of Japan's salary-man dominated corporate culture. The women are traveling the world -- while the men stay at home -- and returning with a cosmopolitan sophistication that is injecting an edgy, stylish internationalism into Japanese life. So many women are happily delaying marriage into their thirties -- labeled "losing dogs" and yet loving their liberated lives -- that the country's birth rate is in crisis. With her keen eye for all facets of Japanese life, Veronica Chambers travels through the exciting world of Japan's new modern women to introduce these "kickboxing geishas" and the stories of their lives: the wildly popular young hip-hop DJ; the TV chef who is also a government minister; the entrepreneur who founded a market research firm specializing in charting the tastes of the teenage girls driving the country's GNC -- "gross national cool"; and the Osaka assembly-woman who came out publicly as a lesbian -- the first openly gay politician in the country. Taking readers deep into these women's lives and giving the lie to the condescending stereotypes, Chambers reveals the vibrant, dynamic, and fascinating true story of the Japanese women we've never met. Kickboxing Geishas is an entrancing journey into the exciting, bold, stylish new Japan these women are making.
In 22 original essays, experienced scholars and writers describe and analyze the historical background, current status, and future prospects for Japanese women living in Japan today. "A truly remarkable volume".--Mariam K. Chamberlain, Founding President, National Council for Research on Women.
In 1946, at age twenty-two, Beate Sirota Gordon helped to draft the new postwar Japanese Constitution. The Only Woman in the Room chronicles how a daughter of Russian Jews became the youngest woman to aid in the rushed, secret drafting of a constitution; how she almost single-handedly ensured that it would establish the rights of Japanese women; and how, as a fluent speaker of Japanese and the only woman in the room, she assisted the American negotiators as they worked to persuade the Japanese to accept the new charter. Sirota was born in Vienna, but in 1929 her family moved to Japan so that her father, a noted pianist, could teach, and she grew up speaking German, English, and Japanese. Russian, French, Italian, Latin, and Hebrew followed, and at fifteen Sirota was sent to complete her education at Mills College in California. The formal declaration of World War II cut Gordon off from her parents, and she supported herself by working for a CBS listening post in San Francisco that would eventually become part of the FCC. Translating was one of Sirota’s many talents, and when the war ended, she was sent to Japan as a language expert to help the American occupation forces. When General MacArthur suddenly created a team that included Sirota to draft the new Japanese Constitution, he gave them just eight days to accomplish the task. Colonel Roest said to Beate Sirota, “You’re a woman, why don’t you write the women’s rights section?”; and she seized the opportunity to write into law guarantees of equality unparalleled in the US Constitution to this day. But this was only one episode in an extraordinary life, and when Gordon died in December 2012, words of grief and praise poured from artists, humanitarians, and thinkers the world over. Illustrated with forty-seven photographs, The Only Woman in the Room captures two cultures at a critical moment in history and recounts, after a fifty-year silence, a life lived with purpose and courage. This edition contains a new afterword by Nicole A. Gordon and an elegy by Geoffrey Paul Gordon.
Scholars have widely acknowledged the persistent ambivalence with which the Japanese religious traditions treat women. Much existing scholarship depicts Japan’s religious traditions as mere means of oppression. But this view raises a question: How have ambivalent and even misogynistic religious discourses on gender still come to inspire devotion and emulation among women? In Women in Japanese Religions, Barbara R. Ambros examines the roles that women have played in the religions of Japan. An important corrective to more common male-centered narratives of Japanese religious history, this text presents a synthetic long view of Japanese religions from a distinct angle that has typically been discounted in standard survey accounts of Japanese religions. Drawing on a diverse collection of writings by and about women, Ambros argues that ambivalent religious discourses in Japan have not simply subordinated women but also given them religious resources to pursue their own interests and agendas. Comprising nine chapters organized chronologically, the book begins with the archeological evidence of fertility cults and the early shamanic ruler Himiko in prehistoric Japan and ends with an examination of the influence of feminism and demographic changes on religious practices during the “lost decades” of the post-1990 era. By viewing Japanese religious history through the eyes of women, Women in Japanese Religions presents a new narrative that offers strikingly different vistas of Japan’s pluralistic traditions than the received accounts that foreground male religious figures and male-dominated institutions. Additional Resources
The contemporary Japanese woman is frequently viewed as dependent, deferential, and far less ambitious than her American counterpart. In this surprising new look at women in Japan, Sumiko Iwao shows that these women are not the submissive females typically portrayed; rather, they hold positions equal to and sometimes more powerful than those of men.
Examining constructions of gender, nationalism, and modernity in films produced in China and Japan in the 1920s and early 1930s, this special issue of Camera Obscura is the first collection of feminist research on Asian cinema of the silent period. Actresses emerged for the first time in the Asian public sphere in the late 1910s, making the convention of the female impersonator obsolete and giving human faces to the many social transformations of urban modernity. During this period, filmmaking started to establish itself as a product of mass culture that circulated globally, creating conduits of cultural exchange in which the modern New Woman became a principal figure of currency. In the silent cinemas of China, Japan, and Hollywood, where Asian women appeared as key representations of nativist and orientalist ideology, early women stars became the focus for competing discourses of gender and modernity and played a key role in the construction of modern Asian identity. The collection includes an essay on the actress Pearl White and how the emergence of the New Woman on Asian screens provoked extensive discussions in the media about the norms of gender and femininity. Hollywood orientalism and Asian nationalism converged in the images of Asian American stars Anna May Wong and Tsuru Aoki, who were criticized by both American and Asian constituencies for transgressing cultural norms. Other essays offer a feminist critique of films by the Japanese directors Yasujiro Ozu, Heinosuke Gosho, Kenji Mizoguchi, and Mikio Naruse, whose work often captured the position of women in a patriarchal system. Trapped between the progressive paradigms of the New Woman and traditional expectations of appropriate gender roles, and between competing notions of Asian modernity, Asian women stars of the silent cinema constitute a dynamic site for feminist film research. Contributors. Weihong Bao, Chika Kinoshita, Sara Ross, Catherine Russell, Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano, Yiman Wang