CFP: “Women and Medicine in the Japanese Empire” Workshop (Virtual, 14 August 2021)

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Call for Papers
August 14, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Japanese History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology


Call for Participants 
“Women and Medicine in the Japanese Empire” 
August 14, 2021 (JST)
Organizers: Hiro Fujimoto (Kyoto University/JSPS)/Ellen Nakamura (The University of Auckland) 
Proposal submission deadline: May 31, 2021 


Expressions of interest are invited for participants in 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. 

This workshop is organized by the Research Group "Gender and Medicine in Japanese History," which was initiated by Hiro Fujimoto (Kyoto University/JSPS) in April 2021.

Research Group website:
Workshop webpage:


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.  

Date of the initial workshop: Saturday August 14, 2021. Japan Standard Time. 

Since we expect participants from different time zones, the timetable for the workshop will be determined in accordance with the location of the participants.  



Proposals should be relevant to women and medicine in the Japanese Empire. Topics might include the history of medical doctors, nursing, pharmacy, and other health-related fields.  
Please submit your abstract (max. 400 words) along with your short biographical information (CV, publication/presentation lists, or website) in the following form by May 31

Submission Form: 

For active and intensive discussion, presenters are expected to submit their working papers (approx. 3000 words) to the organizers one week prior to the first workshop.



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