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Becoming Modern Women:  Love and Female Identity in Prewar Japanese Literature and Culture

Becoming Modern Women: Love and Female Identity in Prewar Japanese Literature and Culture

Special Event

Date and Time /
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
4:30 pm — 6:30 pm

Contact /

Location /
Knight Building, Room 201,
521 Memorial Way, Stanford, CA 94305

Sponsor /
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Center for East Asian Studies

Free and Open to the Public

Michiko Suzuki
Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Indiana University


Presenting a fresh examination of women writers and prewar ideology, this book breaks new ground in its investigation of love as a critical aspect of Japanese culture during the early to mid-twentieth century. As a literary and cultural history of love and female identity, Becoming Modern Women focuses on same-sex love, love marriage, and maternal love—new terms at that time; in doing so, it shows how the idea of "woman," within the context of a vibrant print culture, was constructed through the modern experience of love. Author Michiko Suzuki's work complements current scholarship on female identities such as "Modern Girl" and "New Woman," and interprets women's fiction in conjunction with nonfiction from a range of media—early feminist writing, sexology books, newspapers, bestselling love treatises, native ethnology, and historiography. While illuminating the ways in which women used and challenged ideas about love, Suzuki explores the historical and ideological shifts of the period, underscoring the broader connections between gender, modernity, and nationhood.