This book comes out of a conference held at the University of Oregon in 2010 and organized by Alisa Freedman, UO associate professor of Japanese Literature & Film in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. Freedman is a CSWS faculty affiliate who has written about her research for the CSWS website in the article “Changing Images of Japanese Workingwomen.”
“This spirited and engaging multidisciplinary volume pins its focus on the lived experiences and cultural depictions of women’s mobility and labor in Japan. The theme of “modern girls” continues to offer a captivating window into the changes that women’s roles have undergone during the course of the last century.
“Here we encounter Japanese women inhabiting the most modern of spaces, in newly created professions, moving upward and outward, claiming the public life as their own: shop girls, elevator girls, dance hall dancers, tour bus guides, airline stewardesses, international beauty queens, overseas teachers, corporate soccer players, and even female members of the Self-Defense Forces. Directly linking gender, mobility, and labor in 20th and 21st century Japan, this collection brings to life the ways in which these modern girls—historically and contemporaneously—have influenced social roles, patterns of daily life, and Japan’s global image. It is an ideal guidebook for students, scholars, and general readers alike.”
Review“Wave goodbye to your stereotypes of Japanese working women. This innovative and insightful collection reveals how stewardesses, dancehall girls, and other women in motion challenged social norms and reshaped gender roles in Japan’s modern transformation. Written by leading scholars from a range of disciplinary perspectives, these essays are sophisticated, eye-opening, and endlessly fascinating.”—William M. Tsutsui, author of Godzilla on My Mind