Broken Silence brings together for the first time many of Japan's leading feminists, women who have been bucking the social mores of a patriarchal society for years but who remain virtually unknown outside Japan. While Japan is often thought to be without a significant feminist presence, these interviews and essays reveal a vital community of women fighting for social change.
Sandra Buckley's dialogues with poets, journalists, teachers, activists, and businesswomen exemplify the diversity of Japanese feminism: we meet Kanazumi Fumiko, a lawyer who assists women in a legal system that has long discriminated against them; Kora Rumiko, a poet who reclaims and redefines language to convey her experiences as a woman; Nakanishi Toyoko, founder of the Japanese Women's Bookstore; and Ueno Chizuko, a professor who has tackled such issues as pornography and abortion reform both in and out of the academy.
These women speak to a host of issues—the politics of language, the treatment of women in medicine and law, the deeply entrenched role of women as mothers and caregivers, the future of feminism in Japan, and the relationship between Japanese feminists and "western" feminisms. Broken Silence will do much to dispel Western stereotypes about Japanese women and challenge North American attitudes about feminism abroad. With a timeline, glossary, and comprehensive list of feminist organizations, this is a long overdue collection sure to inform and excite all those interested in feminism and Japan.