Feminist Movements in Contemporary Japan
By Laura Dales
Routledge – 2009 – 176 pages
Series: ASAA Women in Asia Series
In contemporary Japan there is much ambivalence about women’s roles, and the term "feminism" is not widely recognised or considered relevant. Nonetheless, as this book shows, there is a flourishing feminist movement in contemporary Japan. The book investigates the features and effects of feminism in contemporary Japan, in non-government (NGO) women’s groups, government-run women’s centres and the individual activities of feminists Haruka Yoko and Kitahara Minori. Based on two years of fieldwork conducted in Japan and drawing on extensive interviews and ethnographic data, it argues that the work of individual activists and women’s organisations in Japan promotes real and potential change to gender roles and expectations among Japanese women. It explores the ways that feminism is created, promoted and limited among Japanese women, and advocates a broader construction of what the feminist movement is understood to be and a rethinking of the boundaries of feminist identification. It also addresses the impact of legislation, government bureaucracy, literature and the internet as avenues of feminist development, and details the ways which these promote agency – the ability to act – among Japanese women.
Introduction 1. Women, Feminism and the Family in Contemporary Japan 2. Feminism and Non-Government Women’s Groups 3. Feminism and Bureaucracy - Women’s Centres 4. Feminism and Erotica @ the Love Piece Club 5. Feminism and the Popular Media (Haruka Yoko’s Feminism). Conclusion: Feminist Movements and Feminist Futures
Laura Dales is a Lecturer in Japanese and International Studies at the University of South Australia.