Occupied Imperial Women: Japanese Feminists Making the US “Liberation of Japanese Women” Their Own Cold War Propaganda
On 25 August 1945, ten days after the defeat, Japanese feminists gathered to discuss suffrage and the US occupation of Japan (1945–1952). They worked with American women that resulted in drastic legal changes for Japanese women. Previous scholarship with an approach of occupier and occupied based on race has given the impression that these Japanese women were secondary actors in the policymaking. By analyzing overshadowed aspects of Japanese feminists’ extensive activist backgrounds, their superior attitude towards the American occupiers, and their anti-prostitution efforts, this article not only argues that post-war policies relating to Japanese women represented Japanese feminists’ prewar colonial notions but that these feminists took advantage of “democratic” American domination to implement policies rooted in Japanese feminist movements from the 1870s forward. Turning the US occupation’s “liberation of Japanese women” into their own propaganda, Japanese feminists led the creation of bilateral US-Japan domination in the Cold War Pacific.