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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Event Series
24. April 2024

Online Study Group on Japanese housewives‘ post-war anti-pollution movement

“Give us Our Blue Skies Back!” is the catchphrase under which nearly 7,000 women in Tobata (Kitakyushu) mobilised against emissions from local industries. Most of the activists were ordinary housewives with little formal education and without political experience. Yet, these housewives executed one of the earliest, longest, and most sophisticated anti-pollution movements in Japan’s postwar history, spanning from 1950 to 1969. Engaging in a new way of writing the history of environmental movements, this research shifts the focus from men to women, from highly educated elites to ordinary citizens, from Tokyoites to people in the Japanese periphery, and from the presumed heyday of environmental movements, the 1970s and 1980s, to the 1950s and 1960. It thereby contributes to a new understanding of the democratisation of Japan, gender roles in post-war society, the rise of ecological consciousness and the democratisation of science through ‘citizen scientists’. Details and registration here

Anna Schrade, independent scholar