Christian Feminism in Japan

“Minoritarian” and “Majoritarian” Tendencies, Struggles for Self-Assertion, and Multiple “Lines of Flight”

In: Journal of Religion in Japan
Mira Sonntag Rikkyō University, Tokyo

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By analyzing video interviews with proponents of Christian feminism, as well as literature stemming from their movement in Japan, this article explores the contemporary approaches of Japanese women to theology and practical faith. While tracing their discourses over the last sixty years, the article focuses on the existing variety of perspectives, as well as on the problems that have emerged from the intentional embrace of multiple voices. Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari, I identify “majoritarian” tendencies in these feminist approaches. However, the sources used here also show that Christian feminism in Japan has considerable potential for “becoming-minoritarian.” Furthermore, I argue that the situation of Christian feminism differs from those of feminist movements in the major religions of Japan in so far as Christian feminists comprise a sub-minority of a religious minority that naturally needs to reach out to other minority groups, both within and outside Christian feminism. At the same time, these attempts at outreach tend to provoke criticism from fellow Christian believers, reinforcing the marginalization of Christian feminism in Japan.

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