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Rethinking Japanese Feminisms$

Julia C. Bullock, Ayako Kano, and James Welker

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824866693

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824866693.001.0001

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From “Motherhood in the Interest of the State” to Motherhood in the Interest of Mothers

From “Motherhood in the Interest of the State” to Motherhood in the Interest of Mothers

Rethinking the First Mothers’ Congress

(p.34) Chapter 2 From “Motherhood in the Interest of the State” to Motherhood in the Interest of Mothers
Rethinking Japanese Feminisms

Hillary Maxson

University of Hawai'i Press

Abstract and Keywords

In the aftermath of World War II, many Japanese women felt impelled to exorcise “martial motherhood,” a stoic, tearless, child-sacrificing gender ideal constructed by the state throughout the early twentieth century. At the Mothers’ Congress of 1955, mothers from across the country gathered to reclaim motherhood from the state and began to redefine motherhood for themselves in the postwar era. This chapter argues that the Mothers’ Congress represented a moment of transition from the wartime concept of “motherhood in the interest of the state” to the postwar idea of motherhood in the interest of mothers. Furthermore, the influential power of the organizers of Japan’s Mothers’ Congress was fundamental in the creation of the 1955 World Congress of Mothers. This was the first instance in which Japanese women became international feminist leaders, and they did so through the language of matricentric feminism.

Keywords:   Hiratsuka Raichō, Maruoka Hideko, World Congress of Mothers, Martial motherhood, Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF), Eugénie Cotton, Saruhashi Katsuko, Matricentric feminism, Lucky Dragon Incident, Hahaoya taikai

SHORTLY AFTER 3:45 on the morning of March 1, 1954, radioactive ash rained down on the Lucky Dragon tuna boat crew. The boat had the misfortune of drifting near Bikini Atoll, the United States’ hydrogen bomb test site. All of the Lucky Dragon’s crewmembers experienced symptoms of radiation poisoning, but the shocking death of Kuboyama Aikichi, the Lucky Dragon’s radio operator, inspired waves of protest throughout Japan.1 In a seemingly unrelated development, one month after Kuboyama’s death—in an effort to place the concerns of Japanese women on an international platform—prominent feminist Hiratsuka Raichō began organizing an international women’s rally comprised of mothers from around the world. Irrespective of “ideology, creed, race” and class, Raichō proposed to convene what she called a Mothers’ Congress (Hahaoya Taikai) to “protect the lives of children from the dangers of nuclear war.”2 This new women’s movement aimed to promote the interests of women and children in a violent, nuclear age. A little more than a year after the Lucky Dragon Incident, in June and July of 1955, large numbers of women gathered in Tokyo for Japan’s first Mothers’ Congress and, at the insistence of Raichō and Japanese women activists, in Lausanne, Switzerland, for the first World Congress of Mothers. The Lucky Dragon Incident galvanized many Japanese women into political (p.35) action, and in a matter of months Raichō and her colleagues managed to harness public outrage surrounding the incident into national and international women’s movements.

Japanese historians who have discussed the Mothers’ Congress have typically treated the state’s wartime policies toward women as aberrational.3 But this has obscured the Congress’ significance by disconnecting it from the wartime era, resulting in a narrative that characterizes the Mothers’ Congress as a movement that reinforced the state’s prewar maternal policies rather than as one that challenged wartime policies. By positioning the Mothers’ Congress in conversation with the wartime regime, this chapter serves two interconnected purposes: first, to function as a reminder that the state hijacked motherhood during the war; and second, to highlight the fact that the Mothers’ Congress was a vehicle by which postwar Japanese women reclaimed historical agency by seeking to liberate mothers from the wartime state’s hegemonic construction of motherhood. Additionally, this chapter examines the broader feminist significance of the Mothers’ Congress, arguing that Japan’s June of 1955 Mothers’ Congress and the subsequent July of 1955 World Congress of Mothers—or what I will call the “summer of mothers”—can be interpreted as a truly historic summer that laid the foundation for a postwar “matricentric feminism.”4

Wartime Motherhood

Nakajima Kuni insightfully characterized Japan’s treatment of women during the war as “motherhood in the interest of the state.”5 State slogans like “Be Fruitful and Multiply for the Prosperity of the Nation” urged mothers to have numerous children and to do so at increasingly younger ages.6 Although abortion had been banned since 1880, additional pronatalist policies were newly established during wartime.7 The 1940 National Eugenics Law, for example, supported sterilizing people who had hereditary diseases and banned birth control for the healthy, placing women’s reproductive bodies under the state’s control.8

Beyond this, however, the state also sought to control women’s minds and bodies in another way—namely, in its construction of an ideology of “martial motherhood” that required women to send their sons off to war without public displays of distress or anxiety. The stoic, tearless, and child-sacrificing “gunkoku no haha,” which I translate as the “martial (p.36) mother,” had been the state’s ideal mother since as early as 1905. Japanese citizen-subjects were first introduced to the martial mother in national ethics textbooks, with stories like “Mother of a Sailor” (Suihei no haha) in which a mother wrote a letter to her son serving in the navy. In this letter, she called her son a coward for not fighting in battle and told him that she prayed at a Hachiman shrine every day in hope that he would actually fulfill an admirable purpose while away at war. Wartime films brought the martial mother to life in a new medium.9 In a scene from Sea War from Hawaii to Malaya (Hawai Marē oki kaisen, 1942), a mother states that her son is no longer a member of her family after he leaves for military training, insinuating he was already dead to her.10 This constructed and widely circulated gender ideal, however, did not represent the actual feelings of most mothers. During the Pacific War, many mothers felt pressured to adopt a martial mother persona in public; but privately, they feared the imminent death of the sons they sent off to war. Many mothers spoke to pebbles, as if these objects were their soldier sons, expressing the unspoken fears that the state had forbidden them to utter and that their local communities might feel compelled to condemn.11 Motherhood was a thoroughly male-dominated institution during the war—a fact encapsulated in the phrase “motherhood in the interest of the state.”

The Mothers’ Congress and the World Congress of Mothers

Following the Lucky Dragon Incident in 1954, Raichō used her position as vice president of the postwar international women’s organization, Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF; Kokusai Minshu Fujin Renmei; founded 1945), and her friendship with the president of the WIDF, French scientist and women’s rights activist Eugénie Cotton, to present an appeal for the creation of a World Congress of Mothers.12 At a meeting held in Geneva on February 22, 1955, the WIDF listened to the appeal of five Japanese representatives: Hani Setsuko, Maruoka Hideko, Tsurumi Kazuko, Kōra Tomi, and Takada Nahoko. Raichō could not attend the meeting for health reasons, but informed Cotton about the Mothers’ Congress of Japan in a letter.13 The appeal raised concerns about a global nuclear arms race and warned the WIDF against forgetting the terror of World War II. “Those who plan for war do not ask for the opinions of mothers,” the appeal stated. “For this reason we need to raise our voices.”14 The representatives were successful: the WIDF endorsed the (p.37) first World Congress of Mothers and set the dates for its realization as July 7 to 10, 1955.15 In sum, the influential power of Raichō and Japanese women activists was fundamental in the creation of the World Congress of Mothers.

Before the World Congress of Mothers convened, Japanese women held their own Mothers’ Congress. On the muggy morning of June 7, mothers lined up outside of Toshima Hall in Tokyo in anticipation of the Congress’ first day.16 A diverse group of women, from as far away as Hokkaido in the far north of Japan and Kagoshima to the south, attended the convention. This included childless, unemployed, and impoverished women, middle-class housewives, and even survivors of the atomic bomb.17 While the organizers arranged a temporary nursery for the attendees, some women carried their young children on their backs. The rally’s organizers distributed newspapers that welcomed all of the attendees and encouraged them to share their ideas as well as their struggles.18 On the first day, the Congress assembled in one large group. Then on June 8 the attendees broke up into eleven subcommittees to discuss three issues: “the protection of the happiness of children,” “the protection of the livelihood of women,” and “the protection of peace.”19 On the final day of the rally, the women met in a large group once again to conclude some of their discussions, especially ideas relevant specifically to mothers.20 All of the attendees were allowed to speak about issues concerning women, children, and war. Rather than merely repeating the common phrase “sensō wa iya desu” (war is detestable), the women of the Congress engaged in discussions of how war actually harmed the lives of women and children.

Economic independence and stability for mothers was a common concern voiced at the conference. During the last year of the war, and even after the end of the war in 1945, most Japanese suffered from poverty and malnutrition. Despite the efforts of the Japanese government and the American Occupation forces in the latter half of the 1940s, the average Japanese person still struggled to meet their basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter.21 While severe conditions gradually improved, during the 1950s Japan was still in a period of economic recovery.22 The myriad economic problems that plagued the women who attended the rally reflected the ongoing obstacles that many Japanese faced during the mid-1950s. Attendees discussed issues such as childhood poverty, malnutrition, unemployment, child suicide, and the prostitution of (p.38) young girls.23 Beyond this, childless working women demanded affordable childcare so that they too could become mothers. Other speakers addressed the issues of maternity leave and the need for more part-time employment options for housewives.24

The women of the Mothers’ Congress gave speeches, elected committees, and by the end of the rally on June 9, composed a collective manifesto. The language of the manifesto signified a strong response to the state’s construction of wartime martial motherhood. Members of the Mothers’ Congress rejected the wartime state’s hijacking of motherhood:

Because of the war, the pride and joy of being a mother has been shattered. Mothers were even forbidden from expressing the reasonable feeling that they felt in their hearts: that war was detestable. We were not even allowed to shed tears of farewell while we sent our children off to war; we just gritted our teeth.25

As expressed in this manifesto and verified in the accounts of wartime mothers, many mothers felt they could not express their true feelings. The manifesto of the Mothers’ Congress rejected this emotionless, state-constructed ideal of motherhood—that is, the martial mother—and committed themselves instead to redefining the role of mothers.

The women of the Mothers’ Congress defined motherhood ultimately as an act of pride and joy shared by mothers from all walks of life. Observing that some mothers struggled with poverty or unemployment, and others were widowed or single, the Congress refused to construct a unitary image of mothers based on class, race, age, marital status, or occupation. After all, some mothers worked in the home as full-time homemakers, while others grew rice for their communities even though they frequently could not even afford to feed their own children. But most importantly, the Mothers’ Congress insisted mothers were no longer “scattered and weak” individuals.26 Mothers, they suggested, were no longer relegated to the role of national icons constructed by male bureaucrats. Instead, they were now real women engaged in public discourse to define their own identity. This is not to say that women had not harnessed any maternal agency prior to the Mothers’ Congress, but rather that mothers achieved greater visibility following the Mothers’ Congress. Together, the women of the Mothers’ Congress transformed motherhood into a public, political force deployed by women.

(p.39) The Mothers’ Congress was not the first occasion where women publicly discussed motherhood together. Some of the “New Women” of the Taishō era (1912–1926) also debated the ideal relationship between mothers and the state.27 Hiratsuka Raichō, Yamakawa Kikue, Yosano Akiko, Yamada Waka, and others engaged in heated exchanges, published in magazines and newspapers from 1915 to 1919, that have commonly been referred to as the “motherhood protection debate” (bosei hogo ronsō).28 During the Mothers’ Congress, Maruoka Hideko, a social commentator involved with the Mothers’ Congress who wrote prolifically about women’s issues, argued that the motherhood protection debate had not merely resurfaced but had been repurposed. To her mind, the discussions held at the conference were not just reminiscent of the motherhood protection debate of the Taishō era, but initiated a broader debate over the place of motherhood in society.

The Mothers’ Congress produced a total of thirteen resolutions, demonstrating that the participants felt impelled to demand certain actions from the state. The language found in the manifesto articulated a major shift in power between mothers and the state. Based on the language of the resolutions, it was quite clear mothers would no longer raise their children for the state. Instead, mothers expected the state to help them raise their children. Some of the resolutions included demands for medical insurance, social security benefits, nurseries for working mothers, increased educational budgets, and special-leave provisions for women. Mothers also addressed perceived threats to the family in their resolutions. For example, attendees called for the prohibition of prostitution. They also opposed unfair firing practices and the revival of the patriarchal family system. As part of a united Mothers’ Congress, members felt empowered—and they defined this moment as “the turning of a new page in the history of mothers in Japan.”29

This newly constructed idea of motherhood caught the attention of the media. During wartime, mothers achieved public recognition by behaving as ideal martial mothers. The Mothers’ Congress, however, rebuked the state-constructed ideal of martial motherhood in its manifesto and reimagined an empowered, pacifist, and politically engaged motherhood. As Maruoka wrote, the voices of mothers could not be heard anywhere until the Mothers’ Congress. The Mothers’ Congress produced a united voice for mothers that the state neither constructed nor controlled. “Before and after the day of the Congress,” Maruoka (p.40) wrote, “if you opened the newspaper, you would see articles about the Mothers’ Congress. If you turned on the radio, you would hear the voices of mothers. If you went to the movies, you would see news about the Mothers’ Congress projected on the screen.”30 Mothers had become visible political activists and had done so on their own terms.

Maruoka stressed that the women of the Congress walked away feeling compelled to act. She believed that as political actors the women of the Congress now shared responsibility with the government to correct society’s inequalities. To accomplish this, insisted Maruoka, women could start by altering the everyday language that they used to express their place in society. Instead of referring to her husband as “master” (shujin), a woman could call him “husband” (otto). Women could avoid phrases like “take a wife” (yome wo morau) and say “marry” (kekkon suru) instead. Women could stop merely listening to their husbands’ ideas and start thinking for themselves first. Maruoka suggested that women remember to stop treating their daughters differently from their sons, and that they create an atmosphere in the home of social equality.31 Not every woman who attended the Mothers’ Congress embraced these ideas. But, as Maruoka argued the following year, the Mothers’ Congress empowered Japanese women to envision the home as a political space where their daily acts of defiance had significance.

The spirit of the Mothers’ Congress of Japan was one of idealistic inclusivity, but in practice this was an uphill battle, as the selection of delegates to the World Congress of Mothers in Lausanne, Switzerland, soon revealed. The selection committee included thirteen Japanese women who held a series of six meetings. Maruoka, one of the members of the selection committee, revealed that some of the committee members were prejudiced in their selection of delegates. Maruoka suggested Tsuchikawa Matsue as a representative but was voted down by everyone on the committee. When Maruoka inquired about the reason, the others responded that they thought Tsuchikawa’s “zūzū-ben,” a term for the Northeastern dialect, would be a problem. The committee also worried that Tsuchikawa might wear rural work clothes to the conference. Maruoka argued that Tsuchikawa’s rural voice and dress would be a welcome addition to the delegation, and, after a long meeting, won a majority vote for Tsuchikawa. When Tsuchikawa met the elite women who attended the World Congress of Mothers with her, she purposely spoke in her Northeastern dialect.32

(p.41) By July of 1955 the Mothers’ Congress had selected fourteen Japanese delegates to travel to Lausanne for the World Congress of Mothers.33 Women of different ages, races, and economic backgrounds attended the Congress in an international call for “the defence of their children against war, for disarmament, and friendship between the peoples.”34 Altogether the Credentials Commission registered 1,060 participants from 66 countries, spanning every continent.35 Of these participants, 653 had never taken part in an international meeting. Many of the women were selected to represent their countries in elections held in local neighborhoods, factories, and schools. This international “revolt” of mothers, as Cotton described it, was a reaction to the creation of arms capable of destroying large numbers of people with little concern for whether they were “soldiers or civilians, children or old people.”36 In her opening speech entitled “The Mothers Who Gave Life Want to Defend It,” Cotton, as president of the Women’s International Democratic Federation, specifically mentioned the appeal of Japanese women and credited them for making the “whole world realize the horror of atomic bombs.”37

Although the World Congress of Mothers met just that once, the Mothers’ Congress of Japan continued to meet annually, and at times more than once a year. Attendance in subsequent years ranged from 4,000 to 34,000 people.38 Immediately following the first Mothers’ Congress, the Ministry of Education strengthened the women’s bureau and increased its budget. The Liberal Democratic Party also followed suit and reinvigorated its policies toward women. Gradually the Congress transitioned from discussions to demonstrations as they later protested the US–Japan Security Treaty in 1960.39

Did the Mothers’ Congress presume all women were mothers? It is impossible to speak for all the attendees, and certainly some may have conflated womanhood with motherhood, but Raichō, often referred to as the creator of the Mothers’ Congress, did not.40 In 1958, for example, Raichō encouraged the establishment of the Society of Japanese Women Scientists (Nihon Josei Kagakusha no Kai).41 In a letter to Saruhashi Katsuko, one of Japan’s first prominent women scientists, Raichō related her desire for women and mothers to work together with female and male scientists to abolish nuclear weapons.42 Raichō, a woman of ideological breadth, was conscious that women were not just mothers, and in the 1950s Raichō helped create different organizations for women that did not revolve around motherhood—although mothers could certainly (p.42) belong to these organizations as well.43 At the hundred-year-anniversary celebration of Raichō’s birth in 1986, Maruoka spoke about Raichō’s views on motherhood. Maruoka made the point that Raichō believed motherhood was a right in need of protection, not a blessing—meaning that Raichō viewed motherhood as a human rights issue rather than as an essentialized and romanticized characteristic of womanhood.44 This leaves us with a complex picture of the Mothers’ Congress. The Congress often used maternalist language, but many attendees, like Raichō and Maruoka, also supported equal rights feminism.

Rethinking Modern Japanese Feminisms: Rethinking Global Feminisms

While the Mothers’ Congress was certainly a popular women’s movement, Japanese historians have pondered its place in the history of Japanese feminism, usually characterizing it as a maternalist women’s movement.45 By rethinking the definition of the term “feminism,” I believe we can shed new light on the Mothers’ Congress and better assess its feminist significance. Historian Karen Offen’s take on feminism has particular resonance in this case. She explains that feminists in male-dominated societies tend to fight to instate a “balance of power between the sexes,” and argues that a common denominator found in all definitions of feminism is that the movement in question must challenge masculine domination.46 The Mothers’ Congress did exactly this by challenging the Japanese wartime state’s appropriation of “motherhood” as a male-dominated institution. In this sense, following Offen, the Mothers’ Congress was feminist because it represented a pivotal historical moment at which women from across Japan gathered to reclaim motherhood from the state and to redefine motherhood for themselves. We can see this broadly as a shift from the wartime concept of “motherhood in the interest of the state” to a new postwar notion of motherhood in the interest of mothers. This was a significant moment in Japanese history and labeling it simply as a maternalist movement does not give it the credit it deserves.

Recent scholars have argued against critics of maternal movements and have repositioned mothers’ movements back toward the central narrative of the history of feminism. Critics of maternal movements have argued that they reinforce gender essentialism and gender difference, concluding that maternalist politics are a form of activism to which women (p.43) resort only when they cannot do any better.47 Patricia Hill Collins argues, however, that this type of thinking sets up a “hierarchy of feminisms” and portrays women involved in these movements as “politically immature.”48 Other recent scholars have recognized that motherhood movements have even increased in number globally in the twenty-first century. In The 21st Century Motherhood Movement, Andrea O’Reilly states that motherhood activism can absolutely be feminist and applies the term “matricentric feminism” to twenty-first-century movements. O’Reilly’s matricentric feminism is broadly defined as a “mother-centered standpoint” that combines elements of maternalism, equal rights feminism, and feminist care theory.49 O’Reilly’s discussion is exclusively limited to the twenty-first century; however, I believe we can also apply this useful term to earlier movements like the Mothers’ Congress of Japan.

The Mothers’ Congress of Japan can be interpreted as a matricentric feminist movement because—in keeping with O’Reilly’s definition—it was a mother-centered movement that combined maternalist thought, equal rights feminism, and feminist care theory. The manifesto of the Mothers’ Congress contained maternalist language, but simply labeling it as maternalist diminishes the diversity and complexity of thought it encompassed. As mentioned above, the movement fought for economic gender equality, arguing that working mothers needed maternity leave, affordable childcare, and health care. At the rally, attendees also discussed how they could make their homes gender-equal. Furthermore, the pacifist and anti-nuclear stance of the Mothers’ Congress resonates with feminist care theory—the theory that caregiving can be a central, rather than a peripheral, political practice. The Mothers’ Congress of Japan fits the definition of matricentric feminism, albeit an early form of this feminism, because it employed these three frameworks; but most importantly, it was a movement that empowered mothers.50 It is also worth stating again that the Mothers’ Congress shifted motherhood from a male-dominated discourse to one that included the voices of mothers.

By reexamining the labels that scholars have placed on women’s movements—in the case of the Mothers’ Congress, a “maternalist” label—and focusing instead on their broader historical contexts, we can rethink not only our interpretations of modern Japanese feminisms, but also global feminisms. In the twenty-first century social critics have often called motherhood the unfinished business of feminism, but I think instead that matricentric feminism has been largely ignored, (p.44) underappreciated, and understudied.51 As Collins has suggested, motherhood alone may have enough symbolic significance to empower women in certain communities or parts of the world.52 It makes sense, then, that matricentric feminism might have a longer history in some communities and parts of the world than in others. In the case of the World Congress of Mothers, Japanese women conceived and executed the idea to hold the Congress, demonstrating not only that matricentric feminism has a long history in Japan, but that Japanese women also sought to spread their feminist vision to other parts of the world during the “summer of mothers.”53 The World Congress of Mothers was the first instance in which Japanese women became international feminist leaders, and they did so through the language of matricentric feminism.54 Applying Collins’ and O’Reilly’s views on motherhood and Offen’s definition of feminism to Japan contributes to our rethinking of modern Japanese feminisms by highlighting the Mothers’ Congress’ significance not only in Japanese history, but in global history. Rethinking Japanese feminisms forces us to rethink global feminisms.


An event from the life of Raichō encapsulates the intertwined nature of war, motherhood, and feminism not only in Japan, but also globally. As a feminist opposed to the existing patriarchal family system, Raichō refused to marry her partner and the father of her two children, Okumura Hiroshi. In August of 1941, however, Raichō married Okumura to register her children as legitimate. Raichō did this because she feared her son, Atsubumi, would be drafted. If the military drafted Atsubumi while he was an illegitimate son, he would have been unable to become an officer. Raichō knew that if her son became an officer, he would have a much better chance of surviving the war.55 In February 1942 Atsubumi was called up. Because of Raichō’s decision to marry Okumura and register Atsubumi as legitimate, Atsubumi became an engineering officer, never saw the front line, and returned home safely.56

Interpreting this moment in Raichō’s life has proven quite difficult. Did the wartime regime force Raichō to sacrifice her feminist convictions by not allowing her to simultaneously be the feminist she wanted to be and a mother concerned with the life of her child? Initially I thought this to be the case, but reflecting on the significance of the Mothers’ Congress (p.45) has pushed me to reinterpret this significant decision in Raichō’s life as a feminist one. The most important thing the state demanded from a mother during the war was the life of her child. Raichō did all she could to subvert state demands by keeping her son alive. What was feminist for Raichō during the prewar period (her refusal to marry) changed during wartime, prompting her to marry to save her son’s life, which demonstrates how feminist motherhood is unstable and can change based on historical context.57

Raichō’s story clearly highlights the connections between the wartime state, the Mothers’ Congress, and feminism. If historians do not acknowledge the experiences of mothers like Raichō under the wartime state in analyzing the postwar Mothers’ Congress, the Congress’ feminist significance is lost. The Mothers’ Congress feared an imminent revival of the wartime regime and did all they could to prevent the state from hijacking motherhood again through motherhood in the interest of the state. Ten years prior to the Mothers’ Congress, the state told mothers who they were and demanded their stoic obedience to the state. At the Mothers’ Congress, mothers told the state who mothers were and began making demands of their own.


(1) James Joseph Orr, The Victim as Hero: Ideologies of Peace and National Identity in Postwar Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2001), 47.

(2) Nihon Hahaoya Taikai, “Ayumi no Nenpyō,” http://hahaoyataikai.jp/04_ayumi/nenpyou/index.html, accessed January 9, 2016.

(3) Scholars who have examined the Mothers’ Congress include Kathleen S. Uno, “The Death of ‘Good Wife, Wise Mother’?” in Postwar Japan as History, ed. Andrew Gordon (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993); Vera Mackie, Feminism in Modern Japan: Citizenship, Embodiment and Sexuality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); Mari Yamamoto, Grassroots Pacifism in Post-War Japan: The Rebirth of a Nation (London: Routledge Curzon, 2004); and Tatewaki Sadayo, Hasegawa Ayako, and Ide Fumiko, Sengo fujin undōshi (Tokyo: Nihon Tosho Sentā, 2005).

(4) “Matricentric feminism” is a term I borrow from Andrea O’Reilly; I engage further with this concept below. See Andrea O’Reilly, “Introduction,” in The 21st Century Motherhood Movement: Mothers (p.46) Speak Out on Why We Need to Change the World and How to Do It, ed. Andrea O’Reilly (Toronto: Demeter Press, 2011).

(5) Nakajima Kuni called discourse in this period “motherhood in the interest of the state” in Nakajima Kuni, “Kokkateki bosei: Senjika no boseikan,” in Onna no imēji, ed. Joseigaku Kenkyūkai (Tokyo: Keisō Shobō, 1984).

(6) Yoshiko Miyake, “Doubling Expectations: Motherhood and Women’s Factory Work Under State Management in Japan in the 1930s and 1940s,” in Recreating Japanese Women, 1600–1945, ed. Gail Lee Bernstein (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991), 271.

(9) Monbushō, “Suihei no haha,” in Jinjō shōgaku tokuhon, vol. 9 (Tokyo: Monbushō, 1922).

(10) Hawai Marē oki kaisen, directed by Yamamoto Kajirō, Japan, 1942.

(11) Ohara Tokuji, Ishikoro ni kataru hahatachi: Nōson fujin no sensō taiken (Tokyo: Miraisha, 1964).

(12) Hiratsuka Raichō, In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun: The Autobiography of a Japanese Feminist, trans. Teruko Craig (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), 314; Hiratsuka Raichō, Genshi, josei wa taiyō de atta: Hiratsuka Raichō jiden, vol. 4 (Tōkyō: Ōtsuki Shoten, 1971), 182–187. For more on the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF), see Francisca de Haan, “Continuing Cold War Paradigms in Western Historiography of Transnational Women’s Organisations: The Case of the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF),” Women’s History Review 19, no. 4 (2010).

(14) Kokusai Minshu Fujin Renmei Hyōgikai Hahaoya Taikai Junbikai, “Sekai Hahaoya Taikai o hiraku tame no apīru,” in Shiryō shūsei gendai Nihon josei no shutai keisei, vol. 3, ed. Chino Yōichi (Tokyo: Domesu Shuppan, 1996), 153.

(15) Hiratsuka, Genshi, josei wa taiyō de atta, 187. The representatives were in Geneva from February 9 to 13, Nihon Hahaoya Taikai Renrakukai, Nihon no okāsantachi (Tokyo: Awaji Shobō Shinsha, 1961), 297; Tatewaki, Hasegawa, and Ide, Sengo fujin, 72–73.

(16) Maruoka Hideko, Inochi e no negai: Nihon no haha no koe (Tokyo: Yomiuri Shinbunsha, 1956), 49.

(17) Tatewaki, Hasegawa, and Ide, Sengo fujin, 74–76; Ronald Loftus, Changing Lives: The “Postwar” in Japanese Women’s Autobiographies and Memoirs (Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Asian Studies, 2013), 118.

(p.47) (19) Ibid., 53; Nihon Hahaoya Taikai Renrakukai, Nihon no okāsantachi, 260; Wakita Haruko, Bosei o tō: Rekishiteki hensen (Kyoto: Jinbun Shoin, 1985), 242.

(21) John Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (New York: W.W. Norton & Company/The New Press, 1999), 94.

(22) Laura Hein, “Growth Versus Success: Japan’s Economic Policy in Historical Perspective,” in Postwar Japan as History, ed. Andrew Gordon (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 112.

(24) Ibid., 76.

(25) Nihon Hahaoya Taikai, “Dai ikkai Nihon Hahaoya Taikai ketsugi, sengen,” in Shiryō shūsei gendai Nihon josei shutai keisei, vol. 3, ed., Chino Yōichi, 157. A full English-language translation of the manifesto is available in Fujioka Wake, Women’s Movements in Postwar Japan (Honolulu: East–West Center, 1968). (The translation in this chapter is my own.)

(27) See Laurel Rasplica Rodd, “Yosano Akiko and the Taishō Debate over the ‘New Woman,’” in Bernstein, Recreating Japanese Women; Barbara Molony, “Equality Versus Difference: The Japanese Debate over ‘Motherhood Protection,’ 1915–50,” in Japanese Women Working, ed. Janet Hunter (London: Routledge, 1993); Mackie, Feminism in Modern Japan; Hiroko Tomida, Hiratsuka Raichō and Early Japanese Feminism (Boston: Brill, 2003); and Dina Lowy, The Japanese “New Woman”: Images of Gender and Modernity (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2007).

(30) Maruoka, Inochi e no negai, 49. Hiratsuka Raichō wrote a similar description about the visibility of mothers in Hiratsuka, Genshi, josei wa taiyō de atta, 188.

(32) After Tsuchikawa returned to Japan she toured the Northeast as a public speaker, giving more than two hundred public lectures. Maruoka Hideko, “‘Seitō’ kara kokusai fujin nen e,” in Hiratsuka Raichō to Nihon no kindai, ed. Ōoka Shōhei (Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1986), 20–22.

(34) Credentials Commission of the World Congress of Mothers, “Report of the Credentials Commission,” World Congress of Mothers for the Defence of Their Children Against War, for Disarmament and Friendship Between (p.48) the Peoples, World Congress of Mothers (N.p.: Women’s International Democratic Federation, 1955), 10.

(35) Ibid., 11.

(36) Eugénie Cotton, “The Mothers Who Gave Life Want to Defend It,” in ibid., 4.

(39) Loftus, Changing Lives, 81–82. For personal accounts of women involved with the Mothers’ Congress from 1955 to 1960, see Tanaka Sumiko, “Nihon ni okeru hahaoya undō no rekishi to yakuwari,” in Josei to undō, ed. Sōgō Joseishi Kenkyūkai (Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan, 1998); and Tsujimura Teruo, Sengo shinshū joseishi (Tokyo: Kaseikyōikusha, 1978).

(40) Yanbe Kazuko, “Kyō ni uketsugu hahaoya undō,” in Ōoka, Hiratsuka Raichō to Nihon no kindai, 22.

(41) “The Society of Japanese Women Scientists,” Society of Japanese Women Scientists, http://www.sjws.info/english/index.html, accessed January 9, 2016.

(42) Hiratsuka Raichō, Hiratsuka Raichō chosakushū, vol. 8 (Tokyo: Ōtsuki Shoten, 1983), 59.

(43) Ide Fumiko, Hiratsuka Raichō: Kindai to shinpi (Tokyo: Shinchōsha, 1987), 269.

(45) Uno, “The Death of ‘Good Wife, Wise Mother’?,” 307; Sheldon Garon, Molding Japanese Minds: The State in Everyday Life (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997), 201; Mackie, Feminism in Modern Japan, 134–135.

(46) Karen Offen, “Introduction,” in Globalizing Feminisms, 1789–1945 (London: Routledge, 2010), xxix–xxxi.

(47) Some critics of maternal politics include: Julia Wells, “Maternal Politics in Organizing Black South African Women: The Historical Lessons,” in Sisterhood, Feminisms, and Power: From Africa to the Diaspora, ed. Obioma Nnaemeka (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 1998); Patrice DiQuinzio, “The Politics of the Mothers’ Movement in the United States: Possibilities and Pitfalls,” Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering 8, nos. 1–2 (Winter/Summer 2006); Heather Hewett, “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution: Building a Mothers’ Movement in the Third Wave,” Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering 8, nos. 1–2 (Winter/Summer 2006); and Michelle Moravec, “Another Mother for Peace: Reconsidering Maternalist Peace Rhetoric from a Historical Perspective, 1967–2007,” Journal of Motherhood Initiative 1, no. 1 (Spring 2010). For (p.49) larger discussions of this debate, see Patricia Hill Collins, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment (New York: Routledge, 2000), 192–194; and Andrea O’Reilly, “Introduction,” in The 21st Century Motherhood Movement.

(50) Ibid., 8–11.

(51) Ibid., 25.

(53) It is important to note one additional “summer of mothers” historical incident that occurred around this time. In August of 1955, just one month after the World Congress of Mothers, a fourteen-year-old African American child, Emmett Till, was kidnapped, violently tortured, and murdered by two white men. In one of the most important maternal acts in modern history, Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till Bradley, held an open-casket funeral for her son. She wanted to show the whole world what had happened to him. See Collins, Black Feminist Thought, 194.

(54) Kobayashi Tomie, Hiratsuka Raichō (Tokyo: Shimizu Shoin, 1983), 204.

(56) Ibid., 349.

(57) I would like to thank Tomomi Yamaguchi and Pamela Scully for helping me to reinterpret this part of my chapter.