Abstract

While historians have thoroughly examined the interwar feminist movement in Japan, they have not yet fully linked it with that of western women. This article fills that gap by recovering the history of transnational contacts and exchange of ideas between western and Japanese feminists. Although Japanese feminists gained confidence in participating in the international feminist movement by 1930, international political developments struck a hard blow against the feminist movement. Following the Manchurian Incident in 1931, the Japanese government increasingly promoted misogynistic and belligerent policies both domestically and internationally. Nevertheless, it encouraged women to participate in its civil measures. In response, Japanese feminists were determined to at least participate in national politics by taking advantage of the government’s plans. At the same time, they tried to maintain some international connections through international women’s channels. Interwar feminism in Japan manifested an intricate balance between transnational feminism and nationalism.