Japanese men began writing Japanese women’s history over a century ago, although the academic field of women’s history did not become established until more recent decades. This article traces the development of women’s history in both Japan and the Anglophone West by focusing on four distinct moments. I examine how the field evolved and consider some of the key players. Then, I turn to the sometimes-complicated relationship between women’s history and feminism and the rise of gender history. Tracing the absence and presence of women over the past 130 years provides a novel view on the history of Japanese women’s history. The post-World War II period marks the only era when women were entirely absent from the historiography—and this absence was limited to Western scholarship. Finally, I draw attention to the rich conversations and works of translation in the international field of Japanese women’s history today.