Yamaguchi 2014.pdf - Gender Free Feminism in Japan A Story...

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“Gender Free” Feminism in Japan: A Story of Mainstreaming and Backlash Author(s): Tomomi Yamaguchi Source: Feminist Studies, Vol. 40, No. 3 (2014), pp. 541-572 Published by: Feminist Studies, Inc. Stable URL: Accessed: 24-05-2017 04:43 UTC REFERENCES Linked references are available on JSTOR for this article: - reference#references_tab_contents You may need to log in to JSTOR to access the linked references. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected] Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at Feminist Studies, Inc. is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Feminist Studies This content downloaded from 128.250.144.144 on Wed, 24 May 2017 04:43:37 UTC All use subject to
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Feminist Studies 40, no. 3. © 2014 by Feminist Studies, Inc. 541 tomomi yamaguChi “Gender Free” Feminism in Japan: A Story of Mainstreaming and Backlash in Japan, The inTroducTion of The Basic law for a Gender Equal Society in 1999 and subsequent efforts to introduce municipal gender- equality ordinances marked the mainstreaming of feminism in the coun- try. Consequently, feminism became the target of an intense wave of crit- icism by conservative forces. The attacks began around 2000, appearing first in conservative organizations’ newsletters and pamphlets, and then in conservative mass media and on the Internet. The criticism of femi- nism has influenced the direction of local policy-making, the content of some municipal gender-equality ordinances and plans, sex education in public schools, and projects undertaken at municipal gender-equality cen- ters. Japanese feminists adopted the English term “backlash” to describe this wave of criticism, echoing the title of Susan Faludi’s 1991 book Back- lash: The Undeclared War against Women . 1 The buzzword “gender free” ( jendā furī ) became the target of the antifeminist attacks. Coined by three Japanese scholars, Fukaya Kazuko, Tanaka Toji, and Tamura Takeshi, the term first appeared in an educa- tional booklet published by the Tokyo Women’s Foundation, a pub- licly funded organization heavily subsidized by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The term, which was intended to refer to freedom from 1. Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War against Women (New York: Crown, 1991). This content downloaded from 128.250.144.144 on Wed, 24 May 2017 04:43:37 UTC All use subject to
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542 Tomomi Yamaguchi compulsory gender roles, quickly spread via governmental projects and later appeared in books, articles, and speeches by feminist scholars and groups. Although the term first signaled positive support for the main-
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