The Taisho Era (1912-26) was a period of change and opportunity. It saw the birth of the so-called atarashii onna (“new woman”) — the socially liberated, modern young woman, previously unseen in Japan. As this inquisitive individual moved into the job market, a number of magazines appeared that were published for and by her.

Sarah Frederick’s study of these magazines elucidates the realities and the ideological trends of the period. She argues that while some mainstream magazines tried to limit or smother the aspirations of the “new woman,” others became hotbeds of radical debate. By examining the letters pages and articles, Frederick vividly brings to life the passion and engagement of Taisho Era women, particularly their thoughts on feminist or socialist theory.

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