Transnational Women's Activism: The United States, Japan, and Japanese Immigrant Communities in California, 1859-1920

Hardcover (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 28%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $44.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 25%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $44.99   
  • New (3) from $57.43   
  • Used (4) from $44.99   


Following landmark trade agreements between Japan and the United States in the 1850s, Tokyo began importing a unique American commodity: Western social activism. As Japan sought to secure its future as a commercial power and American women pursued avenues of political expression, Protestant church-women and, later, members of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) traveled to the Asian coast to promote Christian teachings and women's social activism.

Rumi Yasutake reveals in Transnational Women's Activism that the resulting American, Japanese, and first generation Japanese-American women's movements came to affect more than alcohol or even religion. While the WCTU employed the language of evangelism and Victorian family values, its members were tactfully expedient in accommodating their traditional causes to suffrage and other feminist goals, in addition to the various political currents flowing through Japan and the United States at the turn of the nineteenth century.

Exploring such issues as gender struggles in the American Protestant church and bourgeois Japanese women's attitudes towards the "pleasure class" of geishas and prostitutes, Yasutake illuminates the motivations and experiences of American missionaries, U.S. WCTU workers, and their Japanese protégés. The diverse machinations of WCTU activism offer a compelling lesson in the complexities of cultural imperialism.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A very impressive exploration of the fascinating and complex interaction between North American and Japanese women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Yasutake's book reminds us that the problems of transnational feminisms are not new, and that the challenges embedded in the U.S.-Japanese relationship-race, class, nation-were played out in gendered contexts as well."

-Sharon Sievers,co-author of Women in Asia

"Amid much talk about transnationalism, Rumi Yasutake has produced the real thing. Her research and insights into the three-way relationship between the American, Japanese, and Japanese-American WCTUs add great depth to our understanding of the complex interactions between the aspirations, achievements, and restraints of women working within different political and cultural environments A truly original contribution to women's history scholarship."

-Ellen Carol DuBois,author of Harriot Stanton Blatch and the Winning of Woman Suffrage

"Yasutake skillfully untangles the relationship between 'race,' gender, 'culture,' nationalism, and religion. Through a careful analysis of Japanese and English language sources, she presents the complex story of how the spread of the American WCTU's temperance movement to Japan was culturally imperialist on the one hand and yet served Japanese nationalist and imperialist ends in Asia and among the Japanese immigrants in California, while at the same time stretching the sphere of recognized political and social activity Japanese women could engage in near the turn of the twentieth century. Her work should be read by those interested in feminism, religion, 'race,' and 'culture.'"

-Brian Masaru Hayashi,Kyoto University

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814797037
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 187
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Rumi Yasutake has taught at UCLA, California State University-Long Beach, and Konan University in Kobe, Japan, where she is an associate professor of American Studies.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Tilling the ground : American Protestant foreign missionary women in early Meiji Japan, 1869-1890 9
2 Sprouting a feminist consciousness : Japanese women's WCTU activism in Tokyo, 1886-1894 37
3 Managing WCTU activism : the Japanese way in late Meiji Japan, 1890-1913 77
4 Beyond Japan to California : Issei Christian activism in northern California, 1870s-1920 105
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)