Discovering Women’s Voices

The Lives of Modern Japanese Silk Mill Workers in Their Own Words


At a time when concern with the exploitation of young women in the assembly plants of developing countries is still a major social issue for gender and development specialists, Discovering Women's Voices. The Lives of Modern Japanese Silk Mill Workers in Their Own Words, offers a vivid account of the lives of women who formed modern Japan’s ‘reserve army’ for textile mills.

By analyzing works songs and oral testimonies of former silk-reeling operatives about their lives in the factory and in their native countryside, it challenges the long-standing assumption describing their history as merely exploitative, convincingly showing that factory life could appear as a window of opportunity or at least a lesser evil to workers born in rural underprivileged families.

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Sandra Schaal, Ph.D. (2006, University of Kyoto), is Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Strasbourg. She has produced several works on modern Japan and is co-editor of Educations sentimentales en contextes orientaux (2018).
List of Illustrations and Tables
Notes on Contributors

Gunnar Harðarson and Karl G. Johansson

Educational and Cultural Context

1 Canon, Dominican and Brother
The Life and Times of Jón Halldórsson in Bergen
  Christian Etheridge

2 Bishop Jón Halldórsson and Clerical Culture in 14th-Century Iceland
  Viðar Pálsson

Dominican Exempla and Saga Literature

3 Bishop Jón Halldórsson and 14th- Century Innovations in Saga Narrative
 The Case of Egils saga einhenda ok Ásmundar berserkjabana
  Gottskálk Jensson

4 Holy Ministry in Old Norse ævintýri
  Hjalti Snær Ægisson

5 Clári saga and Its Continental Siblings  A Comparative Literary Approach to an Old Problem
  Védís Ragnheiðardóttir

Manuscripts and Illuminations

6 Jón Halldórsson and Law Manuscripts of Western Iceland c. 1320–40
  Stefan Drechsler

7 AM 657 a–b 4° and the Mouvance of Medieval Texts
Roles and Functions in the Transmission of Texts in a Manuscript Culture
  Karl G. Johansson

Music and Liturgy

8 Liturgical Change and Liturgical Plurality in the Province of Nidaros
 New Light on the Ordo Nidrosiensis Ecclesiae
  Astrid Marner

9 Some Reflections on the Liturgy for St Þorlákr
  Gisela Attinger

Manuscript Practice and Multiple Careers

10 Elucidating Charter Practice and Administrative Literacy in Four Works by Einarr Hafliðason
  Embla Aae

11 Music and Manuscripts in Skálholt and Þingeyrar
  Gunnar Harðarson

Appendix 1: The Account of Bishop Jón Halldórsson (Jón’s þáttr)
Appendix 2: Bishop Hákon of Bergen to Bishop Jón of Skálholt
Appendix 3: The Booklist of Bishop Árni Sigurðsson
Appendix 4: Contents of am 671 4° (by Stefan Drechsler)

All interested in Japanese modern history, the textile industry, gender studies, and anyone concerned with work songs and oral history/life stories.
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