New Women's Association

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The New Women's Association (NWA, also known as New Women's Society[1] 新婦人協会, Shin-fujin kyokai) was a Japanese women's rights organization founded in 1920. It played an important role in changing Article 5 of the Public Peace Police Law, which had prohibited women from participating in public meetings. The organization also enlisted the help of men as advocates for women in politics.[2]


Raichō Hiratsuka asked Fusae Ichikawa to form a women's rights organization with Oku Mumeo starting in 1919.[3] Mumeo had recently had a son, and she would carry him on her back to NWA meetings and use the pram to carry copies of the group's journal, Women's League (Josei dōmei).[4] NWA's first meeting was held on February 21, 1920 in Tokyo at the YMCA hall in Kanda.[5] This first meeting had around 500 in attendance and 70% of the audience were male.[5]

The official charter of the group and membership rules were announced on March 28, 1920.[5] The group's aims included raising the "social and political position of women in Japan."[6] The leaders, Hiratsuka, Ichikawa and Mumeo also focused on repealing or modifying Article 5 of the Public Police Law.[5] This law did not allow women to participate in political activity publicly.[7]

Ichikawa and Hiratsuka differed politically and personally, so in 1920, Ichikawa left the NWA.[3] Other critics of the NWA included Yamakawa Kikue and Itō Noe, who were former Bluestockings and who felt that NWA was lacking a socialist perspective.[8]

Changes to Article 5 were passed in 1922, approved by both houses of the Diet.[5] Later in 1922, the NWA disbanded.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hunter, Janet (1984). Concise Dictionary of Modern Japanese History. University of California Press. p. 243. ISBN 0520045572.
  2. ^ North, Scott (March 2006). "Work in Progress". humanities and Social Sciences Online. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Lublin, Elizabeth Dorn (2013). "Ichikawa Fusae (1893-1981)". In Perez, Louis G. Japan at War: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 133–134. ISBN 9781598847420.
  4. ^ Loftus, Ronald P. (2004). Telling Lives: Women's Self-Writing in Modern Japan. University of Hawai'i Press. p. 44. ISBN 0824828348.
  5. ^ a b c d e Mackie, Vera (2003). Feminism in Modern Japan: Citizenship, Embodiment and Sexuality. Cambridge University Press. pp. 58–60. ISBN 0521820189.
  6. ^ Hunter, Janet (1984). Concise Dictionary of Modern Japanese History. University of California Press. pp. 64–65. ISBN 0520043901.
  7. ^ Mackie, Vera (1996). "Feminist Critiques of Modern Japanese Politics". In Threlfall, Monica. Mapping the Women's Movement: Feminist Politics and Social Transformation in the North. Verso. p. 263. ISBN 1859849849.
  8. ^ Mackie, Vera (1997). Creating Socialist Women in Japan: Gender, Labour and Activism, 1900-1937. Cambridge University Press. p. 104. ISBN 0521551374.