Japan occupies a unique position in the history of East Asia as the sole non-Western colonial power. Japan’s defeat in the Asia-Pacific War that ended its colonial expansion did not bring justice to its former colonies. The Japanese leadership and people were spared from being held accountable for its invasion and colonial rule by the United States in its Cold War strategy to make post–World War II Japan a military outpost and bulwark in the region against communism. How then did the Cold War shape feminisms in Japan, a former colonizing force that never came to terms with its colonial violence? What was the impact of the Cold War on Japanese women’s movements for their own liberation? What are the implications for today? This article discusses the effects of Japan’s imperial legacies during the Cold War and the current aftermath with examples taken from the history of the women’s movement in Japan.

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