Women writers in Japan have used brushes, fountain pens, laptops, and even cell phones to spin stories and craft their ideas.  Whether court ladies in ancient times, Modern Girls in the 1920s or crime writers today, these authors have had to confront what it means to be a woman in Japan and a woman who claims a public voice.  This course traces the history of women’s writing in Japan, focusing mainly on the 20th century, by introducing students to a diversity of writers, reading audiences, and texts. We see how developments in women’s literacy, media, politics, and the economy affected what women could read and write.  We discuss how the category “woman writer” has been embraced, codified, attacked, and creatively subverted.  Students shape the class through their work as active readers, discussion participants, and authors of their own essays and research on women writers in Japan. No knowledge of Japan or Japanese language is required. LA, BN.