This book traces the development of feminist consciousness in Japan from 1871 to 1941. Taeko Shibahara uncovers some fascinating histories as she examines how middle-class women navigated between domestic and international influences to form ideologies and strategies for reform. They negotiated a humanitarian space as Japan expanded its nationalist, militarist, imperialist, and patriarchal power.
Focusing on these women's political awakening and activism, Shibahara shows how Japanese feminists channeled and adapted ideas selected from international movements and from interactions with mainly American social activists.
Japanese Women and the Transnational Feminist Movement before World War II also connects the development of international contacts with the particular contributions of Ichikawa Fusae to the suffrage movement, Ishimoto Shidzue to the birth control movement, and Gauntlett Tsune to the peace movement by touching on issues of poverty, prostitution, and temperance. The result provides a window through which to view the Japanese women's rights movement with a broader perspective.
"Japanese Women and the Transnational Feminist Movement before World War II makes a significant contribution to the integration of women into modern world history. Showing how Japanese women in peace movements navigated between domestic and international influences, Shibahara explores the transnational space that many women’s organizations inhabited before World War II. Anchored in Japan, the book charts changes over three distinct campaigns over three decades. Shibahara’s findings will interest scholars in world history, peace history, transnational history, women’s history and Japanese history."
—Kathryn Kish Sklar, Distinguished Professor Emerita, State University of New York, Binghamton, and author of Women's Rights Emerges within the Anti-Slavery Movement, 1830-1870: A Brief History with Documents
"Taeko Shibahara has undertaken painstaking research in Japanese-language and English-language primary sources and archives which have received little attention in the existing scholarly literature. Japanese Women and the Transnational Feminist Movement before World War II provides new and valuable insights into the connections between feminists in Japan and other countries in the first half of the twentieth century."
—Vera Mackie, Professor of Asian Studies in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts at the University of Wollongong, and author of Feminism in Modern Japan: Citizenship, Embodiment and Sexuality
"Shibahara takes on a painstaking task of combing through archival materials and connecting various 'dots' to reconstruct varied and sometimes surprising ties.... Such historical retracing is invaluable, and Shibahara's culling of various archival materials is priceless.... Shibahara's study provides a welcome opportunity to rethink and reconsider the legacy of the first-wave feminism and possibilities of cross-border collaboration among women of divergent backgrounds, a topic that deserves continuing, expanded attention by historians of women in the United States and elsewhere."
—American Historical Review