Publishing about Asia in Academic Journals and Book Series (Roundtable)

) Alisa Freedman, University of Oregon

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3) Alisa Freedman, University of Oregon
The Forgotten Story of Japanese Women Who Studied in the United States, 1949–1966

One thousand Japanese students studied at American universities with the help of GARIOA (Government Account for Relief in Occupied Areas, 1949 through 1951) and Fulbright (established in 1952) fellowships between 1949 and 1966; this group included seventy-four women. These young scholars who experienced the hardships of World War II in Japan were among the first people to travel abroad after. They epitomized the belief in education to improve international relations. They came after the U.S. internment of Japanese Americans and after women received the right to vote in Japan. At a time when the housewife was being solidified as a middle-class ideal, many of these women became professors, university chancellors, authors, and translators who shaped the American field of Japanese studies and Japanese field of American studies. Others became leaders in medicine, journalism, athletics, and other historically male-dominated professions. Yet their names have been omitted from histories of women and travel and from accounts of the formation of academic disciplines and jobs. Drawing upon personal interviews, memoirs, and university and institutional records, I will examine how exchange students formed a bridge between the United States and Japan in the Cold War era and were forgotten but major force in women’s advancement. I will overview the experiences of representative women to show how study abroad shapes national images and individual life courses.

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