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1 December 2010

Periodic Struggles: Origins of Menstruation Leave in 20th century Japan

Dr. Izumi Nakayama
Japanese Studies

Date: December 1st (Wed)
Time: 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Venue: KK Leung LG 109

In 1947, the Japanese Labor Standards Law enacted menstruation leave, which allows menstruating women to take several days off from work. This unique legislation, found only in a few countries worldwide, remains controversial today, with debates over its medical necessity and discriminatory potential. How did it come about? In the 1920s, Japanese labor unions began demanding menstruation leave (seiri kyuka) for its female members. This talk focuses on labor disputes in Tokyo involving menstruation leave around the late 1920s, analyzing the material cultures of menstruation and industry-specific concerns.

About the speaker:
Dr. Izumi Nakayama is Assistant Professor of Japanese Studies at The University of Hong Kong. Prior to joining HKU in 2008, she taught at Furman University (USA). A native of Tokyo, Japan, Nakayama has also taught at Tokyo International University. She is currently a Research Affiliate of the Ohara Institute for Social Research (Japan) and a Research Associate at the Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University (USA).

She specializes in modern Japanese history, with emphasis on the studies of gender, medicine, and labor. Her current research examines the history of menstruation leave, a controversial labor legislation providing leave for working women during their menstrual cycle, in modern Japan.

All are welcome. No registration is required.

Japanese Studies HKU