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Japanese Studies | Political Science | State and Local Government Law


Gary Prevost; Richard Bohr


The study of women and politics in Japan provided many insights into women's activism as well as the changes women have brought in Japanese politics. Facing considerable odds when seeking positions within contemporary politics, women candidates often faced a variety of disadvantages as well. A man was assumed to inherit politics, but a woman was not. However, if a woman could conquer or ignore such societal pressures, she could then enter the world of politics. Women's positions will change as individual pioneers (such as the four I examined i.e. Tsuda Ume, Ichikawa Fusae, Yosano Akiko, Tanaka Makiko) work their way into higher positions and use their power to help other women.

If women's positions in Japan are going to change, women must spark the change and must raise future generations differently. Legislation cannot improve women's positions if they are not prepared to take advantage of the new opportunities. Japanese pioneers are not willing to let time stand still they want to see the pace of change quickened. It is this story of these women, these truly extraordinary women, that has helped to shape and to change Japanese society and politics. Today's women will hopefully now pick up the torch and carry it to fuller realizations, to higher heights, and to finally achieve equal status with men.