Vitalizing Democracy at the Grassroots: A Contribution of Post-War Women’s Movements in Japan


Eto, Mikiko. 2008. “Vitalizing Democracy at the Grassroots: A Contribution of Post-War Women’s Movements in Japan.” East Asia Journal 25: 115–43.

Author: Mikiko Eto


The purpose of this paper is to elucidate the socio-political significance of women’s collective activities in Japan. I attempt to demonstrate that the Japanese women’s movements act as a role of democratic agency through their commitment to social reform and to changes in the political status quo. In the first three sections, I give an overview of Japanese women’s movements from the early post-war period to the present day, categorizing them into three types: the elite-initiated, second-wave feminist, and non-feminist participatory. Subsequently, I discuss the confrontation and reconciliation between feminists and non-feminists. In the final section, I examine what role the women’s movements play in socio-political reforms in terms of civil society discourse, and I conclude that the diversity of Japanese women’s movements has contributed to strengthening democracy at the grassroots.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Political Participation Regions: Asia, East Asia Countries: Japan

Year: 2008

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