1. Good Wife, Wise MotherThis is a featured page

1. Good Wife, Wise Mother - Gender, Culture and SocietyThe meager account of Good Wife, Wise Mother on Wikipedia prompted my initiative to put forward a more informative version of the term that was seemingly synonymous with Japanese femininity.

In the wake of the 1894-5 Sino-Japanese War and the foreboding foreign civilizations that threatened Japanese identity, the Ministry of Education during the Meiji Period, created a new prescription for Japanese womanhood as ‘good wives and wise mothers’ (ryōsai kenbo, 良妻賢母). By reshaping the conception of a woman’s role, the Meiji government could at the same time, demonstrate to the outside world Japan’s successful assimilation to modern civilization.

Meiji 6 Society (明六社, Meirokusha) , an intellectual society, was founded to discuss Western concepts, adaptation to new policies, and in particular the Western threat. Mori Arinori, Nakamura Masanao, and Fukuzawa Yukichi of the Society were the three main voices behind the conception of ryōsai kenbo. The members felt that improving the role of women in society would contribute to the progress of the country's modernization project. They argued that women were important nurturers, guardians, and educators of children and advocated equality in marriage and the establishment of a women's domain in the home, although never demanded equal rights for women.

Firstly, a look into the marriage patterns during the Edo period, (prior to the conception of ryōsai kenbo), gives an insight into the shifting definition of gendered roles within the household.


continue on to 1.1. Edo (Tokugawa) Period (1603-1868)
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Latest page update: made by rowsalind , Nov 4 2008, 2:55 PM EST (about this update About This Update rowsalind Edited by rowsalind


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