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Women’s Movements in Japan: the Intersection between Everyday Life and Politics
2005 (English)In: Japan forum, ISSN 0955-5803, E-ISSN 1469-932X, Vol. 17, no 3, 311-333 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article discusses how women's movements in Japan function as political agents that change the political status quo. Japanese women's movements can be seen to comprise three groups: elite-initiated, feminist and non-feminist participatory. Despite differences in their outlook and attitudes, they share two common characteristics. First, their identities tend to be centred on motherhood. The language of motherhood has been a key idea behind Japanese women's mobilization. Second, their campaigns link women's demands with politics. Women's movements provide Japanese women, who are largely excluded from formal political processes, with an alternative channel for political participation. When they exercise practical influence on politics, they make effective use of channels both outside and inside formal political institutions, i.e. non-institutional and institutional channels. In the former case, the traditional style of Japan's policy-making makes political influence possible for the women. Use of institutional channels means electing female candidates to political office. Women's movement organizations provide those candidates with support for their election campaigns. It is clear that women's political involvement at the grassroots level has contributed not only to improving women's social conditions but also to developing a more democratic political system in Japan.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 17, no 3, 311-333 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97527DOI: 10.1080/09555800500283810OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-97527DiVA: diva2:678728
Available from: 2013-12-12 Created: 2013-12-12 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Women and Politics in Japan: A Combined Analysis of Representation and Participation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Women and Politics in Japan: A Combined Analysis of Representation and Participation
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Notwithstanding the country’s socio-economic advancement, Japanese women’s presence in politics lags far behind many less developed countries. They are politically silent as their demands hardly reach the centre of political decision-making. The purpose of this compilation thesis is to find answers to the following questions: why Japanese women’s political status remains low; how they tackle their under-representation; and what difficulties they face in their struggles for political involvement. Focusing both on their presence in legislatures and on their participatory activities within civil society, the thesis attempts to elucidate what impedes Japanese women from entering politics and the obstacles to their political activities. Specifically, the thesis attaches importance to the interplay between women’s representation and feminist movements; that is, women’s collective efforts to demand more women representatives are necessary to significantly improve their representation. The Japanese case demonstrates the inharmonious interplay between these two facets. It sheds light on a negative example, which illustrates that having only lukewarm women’s movements calling for more women representatives contributes to women’s on-going under-representation, which, in turn, discourages women from becoming more involved in these activities. Women’s representation plays a symbolic and substantive role in developing democracy. In other words, with a well-functioning democracy, all members of the political community share power equally. Throughout this compilation, it is suggested that the vicious cycle of under-representation and lukewarm feminist activism is not only detrimental to Japanese women but it also impedes Japanese democracy from progressing further. The thesis is composed of six parts. The first part, as the introduction, aims to give a theoretical framework to the thesis, theorizing the interplay between electoral representation and participatory activities and putting forward my approach in the thesis. The subsequent parts comprise five previously published articles. Although each article has been published separately in different journals, each of them includes Japanese case studies, as well as general perspectives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Political Science, Stockholm University, 2013. 43 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 155
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Political Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-97529 (URN)978-91-7447-833-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-01-29, Nordenskiöldssalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-01-07 Created: 2013-12-12 Last updated: 2013-12-18Bibliographically approved

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