Conquering the studio-space. The emergence of women writers’ self-representations within their studio in modern Japanese literature

  • Marco Taddei (Autor/in)

Identifier (Artikel)


In the Meiji period the shosai 書斎 (studio) was a predominantly male gendered space, mainly set up in the upper-class houses of writers and intellectuals. Used for reading, writing or limited social interactions, the studio was a private room that ensured privacy and quietness. Given the importance of the studio and its association with the identity and creativity of his owner, many male modern authors chose to portray themselves as writers in their private and intimate workplaces.
On the contrary a scrutiny of women’s writing of the same period shows the lack of women writer’s self-representation in their studio in fictional or autobiographical works. However, despite the disparagement of women writers by Meiji society, the growth of women’s literacy in the following decades and the emergence of newspapers targeting female readers contributed to empower women writers’ voice. Thus, in the second decade of the twelfth century, women started to argue that wives and female writers too should have a space of their own within the domestic milieu.
Focusing on Miyamoto Yuriko’s autobiographical writings describing her studio and Fumiko Hayashi’s Seikatsu 生活 (‘Lifestyle’, 1935), this paper discusses how the emergence of literary self-representations of modern women writers within their workplace promoted the image of women as professional writers and made the studio a less male gendered space.


Akademisches Fachgebiet und Untergebiete
Japanese Studies, japanese literature
Forschungsansatz, -methode oder -verfahren
shosai, women writers, Miyamoto Yuriko, Fumiko Hayashi, Higuchi Ichiyō