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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 5 months ago

Back to Eugenics


Kodosurukai (a.k.a. kodosuru onnatati no kai, or the "Women’s Association for Action")

"Action, action, action!"

  • activism office
  • members mostly middle-aged (~40)




  • established in 1975


The movement of WAA may somewhat resemble American second-wave feminism in that two branches, radical and right-based, fused together. According to Keiko Higuchi, one of the founders of the WAA, while the group inherited the traditional campaign styles of the old feminist movement from Ichikawa and Tanaka, its perspectives and ideas were influenced by radical feminism (ibid. 262). Indeed, the WAA recognized that discrimination and oppression against women derived from male-domination that had penetrated socio-cultural institutions. Like the Western radical feminist movements, the Japanese liberation movement adopted a non-hierarchical organizational structure. Following the women’s liberation groups, the WAA tried to establish a perfectly equal relationship between members. Although the group organized a governing committee of eight members to decide the action plans, other members could undertake their action without the committee’s decision as long as they reported it to the committee after the fact. Additionally, any member was able to attend the committee to propose their own plan, but they had to be responsible for carrying out their plan. Such decision-making style was called the “flat relation (hiraba no kankei)” principle (ibid. 16).

Unlike women’s liberation groups, however, the WAA realized the necessity of promoting women’s formal rights and unhesitatingly made use of lobbying strategies to influence politics. The group won a civil suit of sexual discrimination in the workplace as the court found that unequal treatment of female workers violated the Constitution. The group also succeeded in implementing remedies for sexual inequality in education and gender bias in media coverage (ibid. 23-119). Proposing concrete ideas for bills, the group contributed both to the government’s introduction of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law (EEOL) in 1985 and to amending the law in 1997 (ibid.126-137). The WAA led a mass campaign against a proposed amendment of the Eugenic Protection Law (EPL) in 1982 that would make economic conditions for abortion more restrictive, and thanks to its effective alliance with wider women’s groups, the proposed amendment was defeated (ibid. 176-190).

(Eto, Women’s Movements and Democracy in Japan: Intersection between Everyday Lives and Politics)



The WAA, though its membership was sustained by only two or three hundred women on average (ibid. 292), had diverse women, such as Diet members, labor union activists, commentators, journalists, announcers, lawyers, teachers, civil servants, businesswomen, self-employed women, housewives and students. Their ages ranged from the late teens to the eighties, but most were in their thirties or forties (ibid. 14). Despite their sympathy with the women’s liberation movement, these middle-aged women hesitated to join groups which were led by radical young women in their twenties. Instead, they wished to organize a middle-aged women’s liberation movement. When the WAA inaugurated, they felt that they had at last gained their own place (ibid. 261). This brought about a new dimension to Japanese second-wave feminism in its strategies and social influence.

(Eto, Women’s Movements and Democracy in Japan: Intersection between Everyday Lives and Politics)



  • Labor
  • セクハラ
  • Wages
  • War Guilt
  • Abortion


Figure Head: Yoshitake Teruko

  • developed interest in national politics among women's groups


Related Groups


  • Josei Rentai Kikin (Women’s Solidarity Foundation)
  • Korei Shakai wo Yokusuru Josei no Kai (Women’s Association for Improving Care for the Elderly)
  • Zenkoku Feminisuto Giin Renmei (Alliance of Feminist Representatives)

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