Gendering modern Japanese history

A historiographical update

Authored by: Barbara Molony

The Routledge Companion to Gender and Japanese Culture

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  December  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138895201
eBook ISBN: 9781315179582
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter builds on the “Introduction” to Gendering Modern Japanese History (Molony and Uno 2005). The essays in that volume and the co-editors’ introductory analysis of the state of the field focused on two major issues—the imbrication of gender and modernity and the challenge of “gendering” (by which we meant gendered analysis) to dominant historical narratives, a major goal of feminist historiography frequently articulated at that time. Those two major foci have been addressed in numerous fine works published after Gendering Modern Japanese History. They have also been joined by numerous other categories of analysis discussed in this chapter, including gendered modernities in artistic and material cultures, consumption, sexualities and reproduction, sex and the empire, and family structures. This historiographical essay also examines exciting trends in masculinity, LGBTQ, and diaspora and migration studies. It discusses the refocusing of scholarly approaches in economic, legal, and diplomatic histories through the lens of gender. In addition, it shows how other paradigms that are central to feminist scholarship globally, such as transnationalism and intersectionality, have come to play a part in the historiography of Japanese gender analysis.

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