UBC Lectures, Seminars, and Symposia

“The Revolution Will Not Be Translated: Transfiguring American Feminism in 1970s–1980s Japan” Welker, James


In Japan, the year 1970 saw a new wave of feminist activism soon called ūman ribu (women’s lib). While the mainstream media portrayed the ribu movement as an American import, local conditions were the driving force behind ribu activism, which first took shape among women with scant knowledge of or connections to nascent American second wave feminism. Even as interest was expressed within the movement in women’s activism abroad, and techniques such as consciousness raising were borrowed, most ribu discourse and activism was local in focus. Translations of feminist writing from the US and elsewhere would, however, quickly come to play a significant, though largely indirect, role in ribu discourse. In this talk I will survey the production, reception, influence, and transfiguration within and beyond the ribu movement of translated second wave feminist writing, including Notes from the Second Year (1969), Our Bodies, Ourselves (1973) and The Hite Report (1976).

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