Rumi Yasutake


Konan University


Rumi Yasutake teaches U.S. history and American culture at Konan University in Kobe, Japan. Her research specializes in transnational women’s history. Among her major publications are Transnational Women’s Activism: the United States, Japan, and Japanese Immigrant Communities in California, 1859-1920 (New York: New York University Press, 2004), “Re-Franchising Women of Hawai‘i 1912-1920: Politics of Gender, Sovereignty, Race, and Rank at the Crossroads of the Pacific ” in Cathy Ceniza Choy and Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, Gendering the Trans Pacific World (Leiden: Brill, 2018), “First Wave of Women’s Internationalism from a Japanese Perspective: Western Outreach and Japanese Women Activists during the Interwar Years,” Women’s Studies International Forum, 2009 32(1) :1-20.

“Re-Franchising Women of Hawai‘i, 1912-1922: Settler Colonialisms and Politics of Gender, Race, Class, and Nation at the Crossroads of the Pacific”

This paper examines Western-origin women’s social activism at the time of modernization, when Western-origin economic, political, and gender systems prevailed in the Pacific, from a transnational perspective. By the time that Hawai‘i was annexed by the United States and became its territory, Hawai‘i had embraced white as well as non-white settlers to become a multi-racial and multi-national society. The paper traces the struggle of the woman suffrage movement in the islands, which was initiated by Native Hawaiian women of the privileged rank and developed into a mass women’s movement. By examining the relationships among three groups of women in Hawai‘i—Native Hawaiian, white settler, and non-white settler women—and their interactions with U.S. mainland suffragists over the “suffrage” issue from 1912 to 1922, the paper analyzes the complex workings of gender, race, class, and nation, at the time of modernization in the Pacific.

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