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Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan (SOAS Studies in Modern and Contemporary Japan) [Hardcover]

Jan Bardsley

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Book Description

19 Jun 2014 SOAS Studies in Modern and Contemporary Japan
Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan offers fresh perspective on gender politics by focusing on the Japanese housewife of the 1950s as a controversial representation of democracy, leisure, and domesticity. Examining the shifting personae of the housewife, especially in the appealing texts of women s magazines, reveals the diverse possibilities of postwar democracy as they were embedded in media directed toward Japanese women. Each chapter explores the contours of a single controversy, including debate over the royal wedding in 1959, the victory of Japan's first Miss Universe, and the unruly desires of postwar women. Jan Bardsley also takes a comparative look at the ways in which the Japanese housewife is measured against equally stereotyped notions of the modern housewife in the United States, asking how both function as narratives of Japan-U.S. relations and gender/class containment during the early Cold War.

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Through close readings of popular media from contentious letters to newspaper editors to debates covered in women's magazines, from tales of flawed fashionistas to satirical cartoons Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan takes an innovative approach to the gender politics shaping Japan in the 1950s. Jan Bardsley effectively challenges the notion that the liberation of Japanese women was primarily the result of the American occupation of Japan after World War II. In addition, her analysis of the media construction of housewives, princesses, and beauty queens places Japan s postwar era squarely in the geopolitics of the Cold War. Accessible and provocative, Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan will be a very useful book for classes in gender studies in a variety of disciplines. --Barbara Molony, Professor of History, Santa Clara University, USA

About the Author

Jan Bardsley is Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA.

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