Hiratsuka Raicho and Early Japanese Feminism

By Hiroko Tomida | Go to book overview

TECHNICAL PREFACE

I have used Japanese words sparingly, and they are italicized. English translations have been given in brackets after the Japanese. Titles of Japanese books, articles, newspapers and magazines have sometimes been given in English, in brackets after the Japanese, to help show their substance; but unless clearly indicated this does not mean that the works themselves have been translated into English. Quotations from Japanese texts are largely my own translations unless otherwise indicated.

Many Japanese historical, literary and political figures appear in this book. In Japanese convention, surnames come before first (or given) names, so in my text and its Japanese references normal Japanese practice has been followed for Japanese names (i.e. Tomida Hiroko). However, in the citations of English language references, the normal English practice (authors' given names followed by surnames) has been followed, even for the names of Japanese authors (i.e. Hiroko Tomida).

Hiratsuka Haru was Hiratsuka Raichō's real maiden name. In 1941 her name was entered in the family register of her lifelong partner Okumura Hiroshi, and she used her married name Okumura Haru only for private correspondence. However, she was widely known by her pen name Hiratsuka Raichō. Raichō is a snow grouse (ptarmigan) which lives in the Japan Alps. It is believed to have existed since the ice age. It lives on alpine plants, but it is a stout and strong-looking bird, whose feathers turn snow-white in winter. Hiratsuka often heard about the bird and saw its chicks when she lived near the Japan Alps three months before she founded the Seitō Society. She became so fond of the bird that she used it as part of her pen name. She first used this pen name in the initial issue of Seitō (1911), and she then used it for the rest of her life. All her published writing after 1911 was as Hiratsuka Raichō. In order to avoid confusion I have consistently used Hiratsuka Raichō. Her contemporary feminists and female writers changed their surnames upon marriage, divorce, remarriage, or adoption. Some of them also used pen names. I have constantly used one surname for each woman to avoid confusion. Detailed biographical sketches of twelve of Hiratsuka

-xi-

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