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Japanese Feminist DebatesA Century of Contention on Sex, Love, and Labor$
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Ayako Kano

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824855802

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824855802.001.0001

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Debates? Feminist? Japanese?

Debates? Feminist? Japanese?

(p.1) Chapter 1 Debates? Feminist? Japanese?
Japanese Feminist Debates

Ayako Kano

University of Hawai'i Press

Chapter 1 introduces a court case that contrasts a woman’s chances of happiness in Japan and the United States, and identifies the paradox of Japan being a highly developed nation that ranks very low in gender equally. I contend that the solution to this paradox can be found by investigating Japanese feminist debates. The debates attest to conflicting definitions about gender equality, feminism, and women’s liberation, as well as the existence of a lively feminist public sphere that has been an outlet for women’s intellectual and creative aspirations and discussions about policy. The chapter identifies the locus of the debates (the ‘rondan’) in journalism and media, and sketches the history of the feminist public sphere in Japan. It also critically engages with scholarship on feminist theory, on modern Japanese women’s history, and on comparative feminist policy studies and welfare regimes, including the East Asian welfare state influenced by Confucianism.

Keywords:   Japan, feminism, women, welfare, policy, Confucianism, public sphere, journalism, media, rondan

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