Women and Democracy in Cold War Japan offers a fresh perspective on gender politics by focusing on the Japanese housewife of the 1950s as a controversial representation of democracy, leisure, and domesticity. Examining the shifting personae of the housewife, especially in the appealing texts of women's magazines, reveals the diverse possibilities of postwar democracy as they were embedded in media directed toward Japanese women. Each chapter explores the contours of a single controversy, including debate over the royal wedding in 1959, the victory of Japan's first Miss Universe, and the unruly desires of postwar women. Jan Bardsley also takes a comparative look at the ways in which the Japanese housewife is measured against equally stereotyped notions of the modern housewife in the United States, asking how both function as narratives of Japan-U.S. relations and gender/class containment during the early Cold War.
Jan Bardsley is Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA.
1. Introduction: Tales of the Kitchen Princess 2. Dueling Etiquettes: Mrs. Mogi takes on the Occupationnaires 3. The Housewife Debate of 1955 4. What Women Want: The Postwar Appetite 5. Fashioning the People's Princess: Shoda Michiko and the Royal Wedding of 1959 6. Japan's Miss Universe: Beauty Contests and Postwar Democracy 7. From the Housewife's Kitchen to the Witches' Den: Fantasies of Female Power in Enchi Fumiko's Masks Bibliography Index