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Julia BullockProfessor of Japanese Language and Literature


Dr. Bullock received an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of California at Berkeley (1997) and a Ph.D. in Japanese Language and Literature from Stanford University (2004). She specializes in modern Japanese literature from the Meiji period (beginning 1868) to the present, with additional interests in gender and sexuality, feminist theory, history, film and popular culture, and translation studies.

She is the author of The Other Women's Lib: Gender and Body in Japanese Women's Fiction (University of Hawai'i Press, 2010). This study analyzes the work of three prominent members of the 1960s "boom" in fiction writing by Japanese women--Kono Taeko, Takahashi Takako, and Kurahashi Yumiko--as an avant-garde literary challenge to hegemonic discourses of femininity embedded in the high-growth economy of that decade. Focusing on four tropes persistently employed by these writers to protest oppressive gender stereotypes--the masculine gaze as disciplinary mechanism, feminist misogyny, "odd bodies," and female homoeroticism--the book highlights the previously unrecognized theoretical contributions of these writers to incipient "second-wave" radical feminist discourse.

Her book Coeds Ruining the Nation: Women, Education, and Social Change in Postwar Japanese Media (University of Michigan Press, 2019) provides a unique glimpse into the hopes and fears of the Japanese people as coeducation was first introduced in the Occupation period (1945-1952), as part of a host of other educational and social reforms. Through analysis of rare print media of this era, it explores the impact of coeducation on discourses of gender and sexuality that culminated in a moral panic over “coeds ruining the nation” in the 1960s. How did parents, teachers, and ordinary Japanese citizens, raised in a sex-segregated environment that emphasized gender-specific educational standards, respond to the sudden prospect of their children being educated side by side with members of the opposite sex? How did the first generation of young people educated in this “new system” negotiate the mixed messages they received from their elders, who were certain that coeducation would cause social chaos, and the Occupation regime, which promoted coeducation as a means of creating equality of educational opportunity for both sexes? This book is the first in the English language to explore such questions in depth, through examination of arguments made for and against coeducation in newspaper and magazine articles, cartoons, student-authored school newsletters, and roundtable discussions published in the Japanese press of the late 1940s, as these reforms were being implemented.

She is also co-editor (with Ayako Kano and James Welker) of Rethinking Japanese Feminisms (University of Hawai’i Press, 2017). This volume is the first academic collection in English to offer a broad overview of the great diversity of feminist thought and practice in Japan from the early twentieth century to the present. It represents a collective effort by fifteen established and emerging scholars to reexamine and “rethink” feminisms in Japan, drawing on methodologies and approaches from anthropology, cultural studies, gender and sexuality studies, history, literature, media studies, and sociology. The fourteen core chapters in this volume have been organized into sections focused on Literature and the Arts, Education and Employment, Activism and Activists, and Boundary Crossing―that is, ways feminist activism and thought in Japan have transcended national and cultural borders. These chapters are contextualized by an introduction that offers historical background information on feminisms in Japan and brief section introductions that draw out how each chapter contributes to the project of rethinking Japanese feminisms. The forward-looking conclusion ties together many of the threads spun throughout the volume in its consideration of what it means to rethink Japanese feminism at this historical juncture.

Dr. Bullock is currently at work on a book project that is tentatively titled Beauvoir in Japan: Postwar Japanese Feminism and The Second Sex. This study explores the translation and reception of the life and work of this famous French feminist philosopher by Japanese female intellectuals, who were engaged in a similar project to interrogate or subvert the structures of gendered oppression in postwar Japanese society.


Other Selected Publications

Co-edited Books:

2023. Translating Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex: Transnational Framing, Interpretation, and Impact, co-edited with Pauline Henry-Tierney (Routledge, July, as part of series Routledge Advances in Translation and Interpreting Studies)

2021. Translating Feminism: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Text, Place and Agency, co-edited with Maud Bracke, Penelope Morris and Kristina Schultz (Palgrave Macmillan, as part of series Palgrave Studies on Language, Gender and Sexuality)

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:

2018. "From ‘Dutiful Daughters’ to ‘Coeds Ruining the Nation’: Reception of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex in Early Postwar Japan,” Gender and History v. 30 no. 1 (March), 271-285.

2015. “Burning Down the House: Fantasies of Liberation in the Era of ‘Women’s Lib,’” Japanese Language and Literature v. 49 no. 2, 233-257.

2009. “Fantasy as Methodology: Simone de Beauvoir and Postwar Japanese Feminism,” U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal no. 36, 3-21.

2006. “Fantasizing What Happens ‘When the Goods Get Together’: Female Homoeroticism as Literary Trope,” Positions 14.3, 663-685.

Book Chapters:

2023: “Watching the Detectives: Writing as Feminist Praxis in Enchi Fumiko and Kurahashi Yumiko,” The Handbook of Modern and Contemporary Japanese Women Writers, ed. Rebecca Copeland, Japan Documents, an imprint of MHM Limited

2023: “Japanese Feminism in Transnational Perspective: Rethinking the Postwar through Shifting Gender Discourses,” Handbook of Postwar Japanese History: 1945-Present, ed. Simon Avenell, Japan Documents, an imprint of MHM Limited

2022:“Reclaiming Beauvoir: The Feminist (Re)Translation of Daini no sei,” in Translating Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex: Transnational Framing, Interpretation, and Impact, co-edited with Pauline Henry-Tierney (Routledge, July)

2021: “Promoting Beauvoir: The Role of the Translator in Crafting a Literary Legacy,” in Translating Feminism: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Text, Place and Agency, co-edited with Maud Bracke, Penelope Morris and Kristina Schultz (Palgrave Macmillan, as part of series Palgrave Studies on Language, Gender and Sexuality), 67-89.

2020: “A Tale of Two Translations: (Re-)interpreting Beauvoir in Japan,” Routledge Handbook of Translation, Feminism and Gender, ed. Luise von Flotow and Hala Kamal, Routledge, 196-204.

2017. “Coeducation in the Age of ‘Good Wife, Wise Mother’: Koizumi Ikuko’s Quest for ‘Equality of Opportunity,’” co-edited with Ayako Kano and James Welker, in Rethinking Japanese Feminisms (University of Hawaii Press), 89-102.



JPN 101-102 First-Year Japanese

JPN 190 Freshman Seminar: Gender and Sexuality in Modern Japan

JPN 201 Second-Year Japanese

JPN 303 Reading Literature in Japanese

JPN 360 Seminar in Modern Japanese Women Writers

JPN 372 Introduction to Modern Japanese Literature

JPN 378 Postwar Japan Through Its Media

JPN 451: Great Writers of Modern Japan (Murakami Haruki)