Publication Details

de Matos, C, A Very Gendered Occupation: Australian Women as ‘Conquerors’ and ‘Liberators’, US-Japan Women's Journal, 33, 2007, 87-107. Original journal information available here


The Allied Occupation of Japan (1945-1952) is usually rendered as a masculinist American exercise. Women, when portrayed, are usually Japanese and appear as victims of either Japanese patriarchy or American soldiers, or as the benefactors of Occupation reforms related to constitutional equality and suffrage. Individual American women based in the Occupation headquarters in Tokyo and involved in reforms, such as Beate Sirota Gordon, sometimes occasion mention. What is less known is how (white) women acted as occupiers and their participation in the ‘technologies’ of occupation power. The Pierson and Chaudhuri quote above refers to the need for gendered analyses of imperialism, colonialism and nationalism, but military occupation, which contains elements of all three, also needs to be gendered. Examining the technologies of occupation power, particularly the intersections of race and gender, can shed light on the practice and dissemination of power.