The importance of gender to the writing of the history of modern Japan is now wellestablished.
We can trace a shift from ‘women’s history’, which was largely focused
on making women visible in the historical narrative, to ‘gender history’. The field of
gender history deploys ‘gender’ as a major conceptual tool of analysis; considers both
men’s and women’s experiences; and interrogates both masculinity and femininity
(Scott 1988: 42; Molony and Uno 2005: 1–35). There is a long tradition of the writing
of women’s history in the Japanese language and we now have a significant body of
scholarship in the English language, too, starting in the 1970s, and increasing in
recent years.1 The concept of ‘gender’ (jendā) has gradually become mainstreamed, in
both popular and academic discourse in Japan, and in English-language writings on
modern Japanese history.