Feminism in Japan

TitleFeminism in Japan
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMoloney, Barbara
EditorLudden, David
Book TitleOxford Research Encyclopedia: Asian History
PublisherOxford University Press

This chapter provides readers an in-depth look into the feminist movement in Japan, starting with the emerging civil rights movement in the 1870s and Japanese women's resort to transnational organizations in order to obtain a voice they did not have at home. It covers  the uptick in the movement in the early twentieth century when women started entering the professions in higher numbers and started to fight  for women's suffrage. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Japanese feminists also made their voices heard through transnational organizations, including the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, the Young Women’s Christian Association, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and the Pan-Pacific Women’s Association. When Japanese militarism at home and abroad repressed freedom of expression in the 1930s, feminist groups continued to meet, turning to community activism and nonthreatening feminist legislation. During World War II, many feminists accepted government advisory positions to improve the lives of women and families, viewing this as a step toward greater political integration. By the 1980s, however, feminists strongly critiqued prewar feminists for collaboration with the wartime government.

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