Book Announcement: CHANGING LIVES: The ‘Postwar’ in Japanese Women’s Autobiographies and Memoirs

Loftus-Cover.inddCHANGING LIVES: The ‘Postwar’ in Japanese Women’s Autobiographies and Memoirs (Association for Asian Studies, 2013)

It is available in paperback ISBN: 978-0-924304-69-9. 216 pages.

Changing Lives offers the reader substantial translations from memoirs and autobiographies by Japanese women. It contains narratives by women from a variety of walks of life and most of the women featured in the book are far from household names: Okabe Itsuko (nonfiction writer and cultural critic), Shinya Eikô (stage and screen actress), Yoshitake Teruko (activist, historian), Sawachi Hisae (researcher and critic), Kishino Junko (newspaper reporter, adjunct professor of African-American literature), and Kanamori Toshie (reporter, Kanagawa Prefecture grass roots activist) to name but a few. The voices found in Changing Lives touch upon key moments in a dynamic and tumultuous era in Japanese history as witnessed by these women. These events include the emperor’s radio address at the end of World War II, the first Japanese election in which women could vote, the Ampo Movement, and the Women’s Lib Movement of the 1970s where we encounter two of the women speaking directly about the process of developing their “feminine consciousness.” Changing Lives was written with a course on postwar Japanese history in mind, but it may also be of interest to students and teachers in fields such as anthropology, sociology, gender studies, and women’s self-writing.

Ch. 1 Endings and Beginnings

Ch. 2 Contextualizing History: Yoshitake Teruko’s Onnatachi no
undôshi—Watashi ga ikita sengo

Ch. 3 Resenting Injustice: Yoshitake Teruko from Ampo to Women’s Lib

Ch. 4 Creating a Feminine Consciousness: Kishino Junko’s “Onna no chihei kara miete-kita mono”

Ch. 5 Framing Gender Questions: Kanamori Toshie’s “Waratte, naitte, aruite, kaita: Josei Jyaanarisuto no Gojûnen”

Ch. 6 Conclusions

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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