Standing Tall: U.S. Efforts at Democratizing Rural Japanese Women During the Occupation of Japan, 1945-1952
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During the U.S. Occupation of Japan, 1945-1952, dismantling the political and cultural systems that were perceived to have led Japan to war was a primary goal. Democracy, a word that came to encompass much more than its standard definitions, was to be the replacement ideology and coupled with demilitarization. Through a survey of SCAP documents from Record Group 331 located in the National Archives, this paper examines the way in which varying concepts and meanings of democracy were promoted to rural Japanese women by U.S. Occupation forces. It also explores the ways in which Japanese farm women embraced, rejected, and/or modified the evolving ideas about democracy into their daily lives. While the impact of democracy - in all of its many guises - was not as powerful as Occupation members desired, it still had a definite effect on the way rural Japanese women thought about their society and on their daily lives.