Summary Of Yamakawa Kikue's Women Of The Mito Domain

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Known for her work as a historian and rather outspoken political activist, Yamakawa Kikue was also the author of her book titled Women of the Mito Domain (p. xix). At the time she was writing this work, Yamakawa was under the surveillance of the Japanese government as the result of her and her husband’s work for the socialist and feminist movements in Japan (p. xx-xxi). But despite the restrictions she was undoubtedly required to abide by in order to produce this book, her work contains an air of commentary on the past and present political, social, and economic issues that had been plaguing the nation (p. xxi). This work is a piece that comments on the significance of women’s roles in history through the example of Yamakawa’s own family and …show more content…

In the chapter titled “Learning One’s Letters”, she begins describing the educational practices for girls during this period, starting with their earliest lessons in writing (p. 24). The chapter goes on to explain that few women knew how to write more than a few simple characters and that it was common practice to keep women out of politics and knowledge of political circumstances (p. 28 & 30). Even so, Yamakawa explains that several women during the loyalist movements bravely supported their families and husbands, despite being sheltered and cut off from the political events occurring around them (p. 30). She writes, “…the spirit of the bushido was not something acquired from constant lectures about it. It was a tradition conveyed from generation to generation more through a style of daily life than through words” (p. 30). Essentially, Yamakawa argues that these women did not need to be taught about the world of politics nor told what needed to be done in order to act appropriately when political turmoil occurred. This leaves the reader to ponder how drastically such circumstances could have been changed had these women not been kept in a state of obliviousness, thus hinting towards the value and importance of women’s

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