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Rethinking Japanese Feminisms
312pp. December 2017
Rethinking Japanese Feminisms
Editor: Bullock, Julia C.; Kano, Ayako; Welker, James Welker;
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.

5 b&w illustrations

Editor: Bullock, Julia C.; Kano, Ayako; Welker, James Welker;
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.

Table of Contents

Julia C. Bullock, Ayako Kano, and James Welker

Part I Rethinking Activism and Activists
1 Women’s Rights as Proletarian Rights: Yamakawa Kikue, Suffrage, and the “Dawn of Liberation”
Elyssa Faison

2 From “Motherhood in the Interest of the State” to Motherhood in the Interest of Mothers: Rethinking the First Mothers’Congress
Hillary Maxson

3 From Women’s Liberation to Lesbian Feminism in Japan: Rezubian Feminizumu within and beyond the Ūman Ribu Movement in the 1970s and 1980s
James Welker

4 The Mainstreaming of Feminism and the Politics of Backlash in Twenty-First-Century Japan
Tomomi Yamaguchi

Part II Rethinking Education and Employment
5 Coeducation in the Age of “Good Wife, Wise Mother”: Koizumi Ikuko’s Quest for “Equality of Opportunity”
Julia C. Bullock

6 Flower Empowerment: Rethinking Japan’s Traditional Arts as Women’s Labor
Nancy Stalker

7 Liberating Work in the Tourist Industry
Chris McMorran

Part III Rethinking Literature and the Arts
8 Seeing Double: The Feminism of Ambiguity in the Art of Takabatake Kashō
Leslie Winston

9 Feminist Acts of Reading: Ariyoshi Sawako, Sono Ayako, and the Lived Experience of Women in Japan
Barbara Hartley

10 Dangerous Women and Dangerous Stories: Gendered Narration in Kirino Natsuo’s Grotesque and Real World
Kathryn Hemmann

Part IV Rethinking Boundaries
11 Yamakawa Kikue and Edward Carpenter: Translation,Affiliation, and Queer Internationalism
Sarah Frederick

12 Rethinking Japanese Feminism and the Lessons of Ūman Ribu: Toward a Praxis of Critical Transnational Feminism
Setsu Shigematsu

13 Toward Postcolonial Feminist Subjectivity: Korean Women’s Redress Movement for “Comfort Women”
Akwi Seo

14 Takemura Kazuko: On Friendship and the Queering of American and Japanese Studies
J. Keith Vincent

Conclusion On Rethinking Japanese Feminisms
Ayako Kano

About the Contributors