Michiko Suzuki Associate Professor, Dept. of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Indiana University
From the mid-1930s in Japan, “women’s rights” activism focusing on gender equality and suffrage began to decline, while “mothers’ rights” activism promoting legal protection for mothers became prominent. To expand rights for women, gender difference, from reproductive capacity to inherently “female” virtues, was promoted as critical to national wartime interests. This talk focuses on Otto no teisō (The husband’s chastity, 1936-37) by Yoshiya Nobuko. One of the most popular novels of the 1930s, it engages with complex views of gender equality and difference, as well as their roles for social progress, vital issues for the feminist movement and society at large.