Virtual Workshop: Women and Medicine in the Japanese Empire (August 14, JST)

Hiro Fujimoto's picture

“Women and Medicine in the Japanese Empire”
Virtual Workshop #1

August 14, 2021, 17:00–19:00 (Japan Standard Time)   
Registration deadline: August 12, 2021 

Organizers: Hiro Fujimoto (Kyoto University/JSPS)/Ellen Nakamura (The University of Auckland) 


  • Speakers

Nathan Hopson (Nagoya University)
“Nutritionists and the Work of Public Health in Imperial Japan”

Haiying Hou (University of Auckland)
“Female Doctors in Wartime Japan: The Contradictory Role of Yoshioka Yayoi”

Michiko Suzuki (Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo)
“Japanese Red Cross Nurses’ Emergency Responses in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 1945”

Commentator: Aya Homei (The University of Manchester)



We are pleased to invite participants in the first of a series of virtual workshops on the theme of “Women and Medicine in the Japanese Empire.” The aim is to develop an international research network on the history of women and medicine/healthcare in Japan and open up the possibility for future collaboration and publication. We hope that an edited volume will eventuate from the workshops. There is still scope to include interested scholars and graduate students in future workshops.


  • About the workshop

The last few decades has witnessed a growing body of scholarship on women in Japanese history. From the early twentieth century, women worked in a greater variety of roles and more and more women sought working opportunities outside the home. The jobs of shokugyō fujin (working women) ranged from teachers, typists, office workers, switchboard operators to physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. Women’s presence in the healthcare field was not small, though scholars have scarcely begun to examine how these medical women contributed to people's health. As has been highlighted by the recent COVID-19 crisis and the news of sexist policies regarding admission to medical school, there is still much to be learned about the situations and struggles of women working on the frontlines of the health system, let alone in its quieter corners and peripheries.  
Women doctors in Japan have received much less attention than their counterparts in other countries, or even in comparison to Japanese nurses. However, the medical profession attracted women across the expanse of the colonial empire. Several Japanese women crossed the Pacific Ocean to receive medical training before 1900. After the establishment of Tokyo Women's Medical School in the same year, numbers of Asian women came to Japan from the colonies where medical education for women was still limited. Thus, the history of these women doctors gives us a glimpse into the complicated relationship between gender, health, and colonialism in Japan.  


  • Time/Date

Saturday August 14, 2021. Japan Standard Time. 

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  • Workshop Format

Virtual (via Zoom)


  • Registration (free)
​Please register by August 12. The organizers will send a Zoom link to the registered e-mail address by August 13.


  • Contact

Hiro Fujimoto, Ph.D.
 Postdoctoral Fellow at Kyoto University/Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)