*/ DIJ - Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Symposien und Konferenzen


Gender and Nation: Historical Perspectives on Japan

10.06.2004 - 12.06.2004

Koordination: Andrea Germer; German Institute for Japanese Studies, Tokyo, and Ulrike Wöhr, Hiroshima City University


Much international research has been published on concepts of nation and nationalism in general as well as in the histories of particular countries like Japan. In most research "nation" is seen as a product of purely male politics and imagination. Feminist scholarship of the past decade has, with its perspective on gender, revealed basic social, ideological and structural preconditions of nation building processes. This international symposium intends to bring together scholars working in the fields of history, the social sciences and gender studies both from Japan and abroad to create a forum where we can re-think and discuss the fundamental theoretical and historical questions of gender and nation in Japan.

Historical concepts of nation and nationalism are wrought with references to gender relations in their symbols, metaphors and arguments. Moreover, the redefinition of masculinity and femininity in terms of a binary opposition and processes of nation building are political phenomena that developed simultaneously and, in their contemporary theorizations, corresponded in fundamental ways. The formation of radically different gender identities and the penetration of a national consciousness are closely connected consequences of a fundamental social change from a stratified, hereditary class society to a functionally differentiated social body. With the elimination of the "natural" feudal order, gender and nation became central and closely intertwined sources of "natural" identity. This conference will review  the applicability of such a view of the modernization process and specify it with regard to the Japanese case.

Feminist historiography and theory are no longer limited to issues of women's exclusion from conceptual and factual domains of power, agency, and decision-making. During the past years, the focus has shifted to recognize women’s ambivalent integration into social, political and cultural systems. Gendered ways of integrating women and men into the process of nation-building differ over time and from nation to nation. Nevertheless, the common basis for this integration was the mobilization of the minds and sentiments of the people in order to realize the national project. Women and men in Japan from the Meiji through Shōwa periods were told that the fate of the nation depended on their fulfillment of the gender role assigned to them. The predominant female gender ideal was that of the "Good Wife, Wise Mother", which was imagined as traditional, uniquely Japanese and natural at the same time. We would like to trace the idea of women's and – correspondingly – men's gendered contribution to the nation and the state in contemporary concepts of citizenship, organizations, ethnicity, sexuality, work and everyday life. Also, taking into consideration capitalist developments and colonialist expansion, feminist analyses have pointed to the global dimensions of national gender systems and their intrinsic connection with the expansive nation-state. Such analyses underline the need for gender-sensitive conceptualizations of transnational historiography.

In order to understand how gender came to form such a basic category of differentiation, how various gendered modes of people's integration into (and exclusion from) the national project developed, how individuals reacted to concepts of differentiation and integration offered to them and how they actively participated in shaping these projects of identification, it is helpful to re-think the concept of nation, to recognize the historical distinction between nation and state, and to examine the gendered dimension of this distinction itself. Moreover, it is necessary to investigate how competing nationalisms have employed different concepts of masculinities and femininities until today.


14:30 - 15:00 Registration
15:00 - 16:00 Opening and Greetings
Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit

  Organizers' Introduction
Andrea Germer; Ulrike Wöhr

  Keynote Address
Iijima Aiko

16:00 - 16:15 Short break
16:15 - 18:00 Gender and Nation-building (1)
  Identity Politics. Gender and Nation in Modern Western Philosophy
Sidonia Blättler

  National, Cultural, and Gender-related Identity in the Japanese Modernization Process
Mae Michiko

Ueno Chizuko


10:00 - 11:45 Gender and Nation-building (2)
  The Formation of Modern Imperial Japan from the Perspective of Gender
Hayakawa Noriyo

  From Boys to Men: Masculinity and National Heroes in Meiji Japan
Jason Karlin

Sally Ann Hastings


11:45 - 13:15 Lunch break
13:15 - 15:00 Gender, Citizenship and Everyday Life
  Gendered Roles Within the Household and the Nationalisation of Women
Koyama Shizuko

  Home-building as Nation-building
Nishikawa Yūko

Barbara Hamill Sato


15:00 - 15:15 Short break
15:15 - 16:15 Gender, Citizenship and Everyday Life (continued)
  Feminism, History and the Body in Late Twentieth Century Japan
Vera Mackie

Ilse Lenz


16:15 - 16:45 Break
16:45 - 18:30 Gender and Work
  The Gendering of Work and Workers in the Meiji Period
Himeoka Toshiko

  The Nation at Work: Gendered Working Patterns in the Taisho and Showa Periods
Regine Mathias

Miyake Yoshiko


10:00 - 11:45 Gender and Wartime Organizations
  Militarizing Gender in the Imperial Army
Sabine Frühstück

  National Women's Organisations in Wartime Japan
Sandra Wilson

Kanō Mikiyo


11:45 - 13:15 Lunch break
13:15 - 14:45 Gender, Ethnicity and Colonialism
  Gender and Ethnicity of Ainu
Kojima Kyōko

  Japan's Comfort Women - Militarism and the Control of Sexuality
Tanaka Yuki

  The Japanese-American Military Alliance and the Anti-Prostitution Law
Fujime Yuki

14:45 - 15:00 Short break
15:00 - 15:45 Gender, Ethnicity and Colonialism (continued)
Yamashita Yeong-ae


15:45 - 16:15 Break
16:15 - 18:00 Gender and Sexuality
  Rethinking Sex as Crime: Sexuality, the Law, and the Courts in Meiji Japan
Susan Burns

  Postwar Family Planning Movements and Sexuality
Ogino Miho

Ehara Yumiko


18:00 - 18:15 Organizers' Closing Remarks
  Andrea Germer; Ulrike Wöhr


Tokyo Women's Plaza
Jingū-mae 5-53-67
150-0001 Tokyo


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