Women Students and Japan’s New Left

Coed JapanJan Bardsley of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has reviewed the book Coed Revolution: The Female Student in the Japanese New Left, authored by By Chelsea Szendi Schieder and published by Duke University Press.

Most histories of Japan’s radicals have missed the women involved. In Coed Revolution, Schieder sets the record straight, focusing “on several young women who achieved notoriety for their involvement in New Left protests, drawing attention to their writing, its influences and the direction their activism took.”

These women recall the “gendered stereotypes rife in the movement and sexist coverage in the media…”. They describe “how campus activism led them to feminist activism…”. Bardsley observes that Coed Revolution moves “chronologically from 1957 to 1972, [with] the focus of the five main chapters ranges from close readings of some individual female students’ writing to broader analysis of the gendered dynamics of the student movement.”

Bardsley views the book as an “approachable, fascinating study …[that] provides important scholarship on gender and politics in post-war Japan and the role media plays in spinning narratives that shape public opinion.”

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