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  • Frauenerziehung und Frauenbild im Umbruch. Ideale von Mädchenerziehung, Frauenrolle und weiblichen Lebensentwürfen in der frühen Jogaku zasshi (1885-1889)
Frauenerziehung und Frauenbild im Umbruch. Ideale von Mädchenerziehung, Frauenrolle und weiblichen Lebensentwürfen in der frühen Jogaku zasshi (1885-1889). By Nadja Kischka-Wellhäusser. Munich: Iudicium, 2004. 380 pages. Softcover €34.20.

Anyone who has used Jogaku zasshi for their research and read some of its articles will appreciate the work that has gone into this book and welcome the contribution it makes to our knowledge about the journal and the main force behind it, Iwamoto Yoshiharu (1863-1942). An important source for the early history of the women's movement in Japan, Jogaku zasshi has received little attention from Western scholars, and even in Japan research had mostly concentrated on certain aspects rather than the general significance of the journal.

Established in 1885 as the successor to Jogaku shinshi, founded the year before and edited by Iwamoto Yoshiharu and Kondō Kenzō (1855-1886), Jogaku zasshi continued until 1904 as the first long-lived women's magazine. Nadja Kischka-Wellhäusser's declared aim is to examine Iwamoto's central ideas regarding female [End Page 112] education, the family, and women's place in society—themes he discusses in many articles during the early years of Jogaku zasshi. She also explores the role of literature by women in the journal. Although Iwamoto did not explicitly state his views on literature, Jogaku zasshi provided an important forum for female contributors. Kischka-Wellhäusser further seeks to delineate the institutional setting of female education and emancipation; Iwamoto was a cofounder of the girl's school Meiji Jogakkō as well as the Tokyo Women's Christian Temperance Association, established in December 1886.

Before she gets to her main themes, however, the author spends nearly one hundred pages providing background information. The first chapter deals with social and intellectual developments in the Edo period. The values of the samurai class became the basis for legal reforms after the Meiji Restoration; the ie-structure of samurai families became the legal norm for all of Japanese society. At the same time, different ideas about the role of women were discussed in the early Meiji years, for example by members of the Meirokusha and representatives of the Movement for Freedom and People's Rights. Early female campaigners contributed to the discussions, including Kishida Toshiko, who (as Nakajima Toshiko) later became an important contributor to Jogaku zasshi. The information provided as background is hardly new, but it is well summarized; Kischka-Wellhäusser has referred to new research and is critical of received ideas. Since she is writing for a German audience, the inclusion of such general information is useful, as it is not easily accessible in German.

In her third chapter, Kischka-Wellhäusser at last approaches her main subject, Iwamoto Yoshiharu and Jogaku zasshi. She pays particular attention to the influence of Protestant Christianity on his thought and work and to the significance of his combined roles as editor, deputy head (later head) of Meiji Jogakkō, and driving force behind the Tokyo Women's Christian Temperance Association. Iwamoto's views of women's role as expressed in his early writings she describes as seemingly more traditional than those advocated by representatives of the Japanese Enlightenment or the People's Rights movement. Iwamoto lamented the loss of what he called "female virtue" even while showing approval of new rights and more educational opportunities for women. But to his traditional view, typical of his samurai background, he added Western, in particular Christian, concepts of marriage and the role of the housewife and mother. Throughout the chapter, Kischka-Wellhäusser provides extensive information on the context of Iwamoto's activities, on other women's journals at the time Jogaku zasshi was founded, on female education, including missionary schools, and on women's associations. Although this can make it hard to keep track of her main subject, it does give a good idea of the wider historical context, showing how Iwamoto fitted into the general trend.

The fourth and longest chapter finally deals with Jogaku zasshi itself and with its female contributors. Kischka-Wellhäusser seeks to show how the journal developed in its early phases. She describes 1889 as a major turning point, because, from that year onwards, the influence of female authors on the journal's character, including Iwamoto's wife, Wakamatsu Shizuko (whom he married that year) became increasingly evident. In 1890 eight women became permanent members of the editorial staff. With this change came a stronger emphasis on literature, particularly literary fiction by women.

To describe in detail the process by which Jogaku zasshi established itself, the [End Page 113] author divides the period from 1885 to 1889 into five phases. The ten issues of the first phase, from 20 July to 8 December 1885, were similar to the journal's predecessor, Jogaku shinshi; discussions of women's role in society extolled traditional virtues, as well as offered practical advice on household matters and lessons in Japanese literature. But editorials discussing Western ideas and news about women in Japan and the world suggested a new tendency. This became more apparent from the eleventh issue (20 December), which marks the start of the second phase, with more articles by the editors and increased emphasis on education and social reform.

From the thirtieth issue (25 July 1886) the focus on reform and on debate about women's position in society became even more clear; contributors included prominent opinion leaders of the day, such as Katō Hiroyuki and Shimada Saburō. The third phase, in which the aim to enlighten and to educate is most apparent, ended abruptly with the journal's suspension following publication of the article "Adultery of the Nation" in issue 65 (25 May 1887). From the next issue (9 July 1887) the journal's shift in emphasis from reform to literary fiction becomes discernible with a new section entitled "Shōsetsu." Another new section was called "Foreign News about Women." In December 1887, the editor announced a reform of Jogaku zasshi, with a stronger focus on the discussion of female education and women's rights, but also with a greater variety of articles. Towards the end of this phase a clear trend can be seen towards literary fiction by women, both in contributions and in the themes of Iwamoto's editorials. This trend became even more striking with the next phase, introduced with the 160th issue (4 May 1889). Kischka-Wellhäusser describes later developments until 1894, after which date there were no more significant changes in the character of Jogaku zasshi. Generally, the years 1889 to 1894 are depicted as the journal's most successful period, but, as Kischka-Wellhäusser points out, little research has been done on the journal's last eleven years of alleged decline.

For Iwamoto's views on women, the author relies chiefly on his editorials between 1885 and 1888 (four of which are translated in the appendix). She discusses the different elements of his thought in detail and illustrates them with many quotes. Iwamoto's postulation of men's and women's equal worth and of a "natural" division of roles, with women's place being mainly in the home, was hardly new or original. But he also stressed women's importance as citizens and conceded that for some women work outside the home might be acceptable and desirable. The most important new element was Iwamoto's emphasis on the emotional content of the woman's sphere and his ideal of the Christian home centering on the nuclear family, with new family rituals, such as family meals. Another new and even radical element was Iwamoto's demand that men, rather than superficially clamoring for women's rights, should be willing to change their own way of thinking about women and to introduce fundamental reforms to improve the position of women. Iwamoto's ideal of women's education went beyond preparing females for their role in the home to include higher intellectual education in the sciences as well as the arts. His journal encouraged women's intellectual development. From the beginning it included contributions by women, among them essays by schoolgirls, often from Meiji Jogakkō, and articles by future writers, some whom Kischka-Wellhäusser introduces.

One point, which Kischka-Wellhäusser mentions in passing and which perhaps deserves more consideration by future researchers, is the attention devoted in the early issues of Jogaku zasshi to the question how men and women should associate in public [End Page 114] (kōsai, shakō). At the time, the widely reported, lavish parties at the Rokumeikan as well as the new women's associations demanded a public role of women, who had to relate to men outside their family and close acquaintances. Another question that future researchers might investigate is how the ideas of Western-influenced writers like Iwamoto compare with the views of educators of women who have so far been neglected as supposedly conservative and less interesting. One, Miwada Masako (1843-1927), published her views on female education in the 1890s and early 1900s and expressed similar ideas about men's and women's equal value but different "natural" roles; she stressed women's responsibility to society and the need for female education beyond the elementary level.

Based on a doctoral dissertation and (presumably) published without major structual revisions, this book at times threatens to overload the reader with factual details, and there is also a fair amount of repetition. But Kischka-Wellhäusser has produced a sound piece of scholarship, which adds significantly to our understanding of the Meiji discourse on women and the roots of the women's movement.

Margaret Mehl
University of Copenhagen

Additional Information

ISSN
1880-1390
Print ISSN
0027-0741
Pages
112-115
Launched on MUSE
2005-05-09
Open Access
No
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