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Beware the loan word “feminizumu.” If you ask accomplished, educated and gainfully employed Japanese women whether they are feminists, the adverse reaction can be confusing. I first came up against this in a seminar of women art-history students, who unanimously, and vehemently rejected the idea of being feminists.

After a bit of exasperated mansplaining, on my part, that none of them would be studying masters or doctorates without the travails of feminist activists who had fought for the vote, access to higher education and equal treatment under the law, I was told that, for them, “feminizumu” meant, essentially, “discrimination against men.”

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