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Gender and Law in the Japanese Imperium$
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Susan L. Burns and Barbara J. Brooks

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824837150

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824837150.001.0001

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Disputing Rights

Disputing Rights

The Debate over Anti-Prostitution Legislation in 1950s Japan

(p.48) Chapter 2 Disputing Rights
Gender and Law in the Japanese Imperium

Sally A. Hastings

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter focuses on the role of the first generation of female Diet members who advocated for the criminalization of prostitution, which they characterized as a violation of women's human rights even as they called for penalties for those who engaged in it. With the end of the Occupation era in 1952, prostitution had become a pressing social and political issue as advocates for criminalization vied with those who called for a return to the prewar system. Coalitions of brothel owners, a prostitute's union, and conservative politicians had also adopted the rhetoric of “rights,” championing the right of women as free agents to choose their own form of employment, while also positioning regulated prostitution as a social necessity that satisfied male sexual needs, controlled the spread of venereal disease, and offered protection to women.

Keywords:   prostitution criminalization, prostitution, women's rights, regulated prostitution, women's human rights

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