From ‘Dutiful Daughters’ to ‘Coeds Ruining the Nation’: Reception of Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex in Early Postwar Japan

From ‘Dutiful Daughters’ to ‘Coeds Ruining the Nation’: Reception of Simone de Beauvoir's... In the wake of the Second World War, there was a dramatic resurgence of feminist activity in Japan as Occupation forces sought allies among the Japanese in their project to remake the nation as a peaceful and democratic bulwark against communism. As the Occupiers saw it, empowering Japanese women would help ‘civilise’ the nation and rein in its ‘feudalistic’ impulses toward militarism, so support for women's rights became central to this wholesale restructuring of the nation's legal, economic and social framework. But even as Japanese women gained the right to vote, run for office, choose their spouses, inherit property and initiate divorce on a par with men, both men and women were forced to grapple with the wide gap between the new democratic ideals and persistently conventional expectations of women's roles. As the Occupation drew to a close and conservative Japanese politicians began to reassert control over the course of their nation's recovery and development, heated debates transpired regarding which of these democratic reforms would remain in place, and which would be abandoned in favour of a return to ‘tradition’.Conservatives viewed the introduction of coeducation, which was included as part of Occupation‐era reforms in an attempt to ensure ‘equality http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Gender & History Wiley

From ‘Dutiful Daughters’ to ‘Coeds Ruining the Nation’: Reception of Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex in Early Postwar Japan

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Publisher
Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0953-5233
eISSN
1468-0424
D.O.I.
10.1111/1468-0424.12341
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the wake of the Second World War, there was a dramatic resurgence of feminist activity in Japan as Occupation forces sought allies among the Japanese in their project to remake the nation as a peaceful and democratic bulwark against communism. As the Occupiers saw it, empowering Japanese women would help ‘civilise’ the nation and rein in its ‘feudalistic’ impulses toward militarism, so support for women's rights became central to this wholesale restructuring of the nation's legal, economic and social framework. But even as Japanese women gained the right to vote, run for office, choose their spouses, inherit property and initiate divorce on a par with men, both men and women were forced to grapple with the wide gap between the new democratic ideals and persistently conventional expectations of women's roles. As the Occupation drew to a close and conservative Japanese politicians began to reassert control over the course of their nation's recovery and development, heated debates transpired regarding which of these democratic reforms would remain in place, and which would be abandoned in favour of a return to ‘tradition’.Conservatives viewed the introduction of coeducation, which was included as part of Occupation‐era reforms in an attempt to ensure ‘equality

Journal

Gender & HistoryWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2018

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