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By Michiko Suzuki

Providing a clean exam of girls writers and prewar ideology, this publication breaks new flooring in its research of affection as a severe element of jap tradition in the course of the early to mid-twentieth century. As a literary and cultural historical past of affection and feminine id, Becoming sleek Women specializes in same-sex love, love marriage, and maternal love―new phrases at the moment; in doing so, it indicates how the belief of "woman," in the context of a colourful print tradition, used to be built throughout the smooth adventure of affection. writer Michiko Suzuki's paintings enhances present scholarship on girl identities resembling "Modern woman" and "New Woman," and translates women's fiction together with nonfiction from a variety of media―early feminist writing, sexology books, newspapers, bestselling love treatises, local ethnology, and historiography. whereas illuminating the ways that girls used and challenged rules approximately love, Suzuki explores the historic and ideological shifts of the interval, underscoring the wider connections among gender, modernity, and nationhood.

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Extra info for Becoming modern women : love and female identity in prewar Japanese literature and culture

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9 Although female-female love as a whole caused some level of unease and increased scrutiny, discourses about such relationships tended to be polarized throughout the period, most often oscillating between ideas of purity and innocence and those of sexuality and deviance. During the prewar period, same-sex love discourse became an important part of society’s understanding of young women in general, in addition to its views on the specific figure of the schoolgirl. This is not to say that female-female love suddenly became a dominant practice for all girls and women.

At the same time, however, sexology and its scientific prerogative could also authorize same-sex love in certain situations, reinforcing its place in the modern landscape. Because the female sex itself was already marked with ambivalence as the Other sex—considered pure and innocent but also associated with sickness (such as menstruation), carnal instincts, and weak morals—the dual “truths” of same-sex love mirrored the difference of this Other sex, providing an important key to understanding modern female identity.

Selfhood—the world will now be restructured around this new discovery. . Selfhood becomes the fountain of all creation and worth. . 26 In this 1925 essay, we can see Yoshiya’s vision of female growth: the girl awakens from the same-sex dreamworld to enter adulthood, a world that the romance of sisterhood  requires the development of selfhood. The Western fairytale trope of descending the tower often symbolizes entry into heterosexuality, but here Yoshiya emphasizes instead the girl’s self-discovery.

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