Gender in Modern East Asia

An Integrated History


Barbara Molony, Janet Theiss, Hyaeweol Choi

First Edition • March 15, 2016 • 540 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813348759 • $55.00 USD$71.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813348766 • $36.99 USD$47.99 CAN

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Gender in Modern East Asia explores the history of women and gender in China, Korea, and Japan from the seventeenth century to the present. This unique volume treats the three countries separately within each time period while also placing them in global and regional contexts. Its transnational and integrated approach connects the cultural, economic, and social developments in East Asia to what is happening across the wider world.

The text focuses specifically on the dynamic histories of sexuality; gender ideology, discourse, and legal construction; marriage and the family; and the gendering of work, society, culture, and power. Important themes and topics woven through the text include Confucianism, writing and language, the role of the state in gender construction, nationalism, sexuality and prostitution, New Women and Modern Girls, feminisms, “comfort” women, and imperialism. Accessibly written and comprehensive, Gender in Modern East Asia is a much-needed contribution to the study of the region.

“A groundbreaking work that brings together the gender history of China, Japan, and Korea. Recommended textbook for gender historians and Modern East Asian specialists.” —Angelina Chin, Pomona College

“This is the only book of its kind to provide a thorough and up-to-date analysis of gender in East Asia that is grounded in national and transnational contexts. It is suitable for undergraduates and graduate students, and covers the gendering of the private realms of marriage and family, as well as the discourses and power shifts related to work, law, and society.” —Cristina Zaccarini, Adelphi University

“This is the first comprehensive single-volume textbook on gender in East Asia; it would be essential for anyone who teaches and studies gender/women of the region.” —Danke Li, Fairfield University


Barbara Molony is professor of history at Santa Clara University and author of numerous books and articles on gender in Japan. In addition to co-authoring Modern East Asia (Pearson, 2012), Molony has co-edited two scholarly works on gender in Japan and Asia, written a monograph on technology and investment in prewar Japan, and is currently working on a biography of Ichikawa Fusae.

Janet Theiss is associate professor of history and director of the Asia Center at the University of Utah, and co-editor of the journal Late Imperial China. She is the author of Disgraceful Matters: The Politics of Chastity in 18th Century China (U California Press) and a number of articles on 18th century Chinese gender history.

Hyaeweol Choi is professor of Korean studies and director of the Korea Institute at the Australian National University. She is the author of Gender and Mission Encounters in Korea: New Women, Old Ways (U California Press) and New Women in Colonial Korea: A Sourcebook (Routledge). She has also co-edited Divine Domesticities: Christian Paradoxes in Asia and the Pacific (ANU Press).

1. Gender in Ancient and Medieval East Asia before 1600
2. Gender and Sexuality in Early Modern East Asia.
3. Urban and Rural Lives in the Early Modern Era
4. Gender and Modernity, 1860-1912
5. Nationalism and Feminism in the Interwar Period.
6. Politics of the Body: New Women and New Men in the Interwar Period.
7. Gender, Labor Markets, and the Economy.
8. Gender and War.
9. Reconstructing Gender in the Early Cold War Era, 1945-1953.
10. Diverging Notions of Gender in Northeast Asia, 1950s to 1980s.
11. Contemporary Gender and Sexualities, Late 1980s to 2015.

“Easy to read and free from ideological jargon . . . Highly recommended.” –Choice

“A groundbreaking work that brings together the gender history of China, Japan and Korea. Recommended textbook for gender historians and Modern East Asian specialists.”
—Angelina Chin, Pomona College

“This is the first book in the field that provides a coherent, comprehensive and balanced History of gender relations in East Asia. Instead of producing yet another collection of articles, the authors, prominent gender historians of China, Japan and Korea respectively, were able to seamlessly combine their knowledge and unify their perspective in this book. This book not only integrates the histories of gender in China, Japan and Korea, highlighting important connections as well as differences, but it also explicitly sees them as part of global history of gender, as well as of global history.”
—Elena Valussi, Loyola University Chicago

“This is the only book of its kind to provide a thorough and up to date analysis of gender in east asia, that is grounded in national and transnational contexts. It is suitable for undergraduates and graduate students, and covers the gendering of the private realms of marriage and family, as well as the discourses and power shifts related to work, law, and society.”
—Cristina Zaccarini, Adelphi University

“This is the first comprehensive single-volume textbook on gender in East Asia; it would be essential for anyone who teaches and studies gender/women of the region.”
—Danke Li, Fairfield University

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