By Michiko Y. Aoki, Margaret B. Dardess
Textual content followed at collage of Kansas; college of Missouri, Columbia.
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Extra resources for As the Japanese See It: Past and Present
Jogaku zasshi 10 (December 8, 1885). (Courtesy of Nihon Kindai Bungakkan) Figure 3 Table of Contents page from Jogaku zasshi 34 (September 5, 1886). The bottom section—generally reserved for “Calendar Events,” “Special Announcements,” or “Pearls of Wisdom”—features a clever illustration protesting corsets. (Courtesy of Nihon Kindai Bungakkan) 22 Chapter One selves always content with Western ways. In Western journalism at this time, much attention was being given to dress reform, for example. Articles in Jogaku reflected these concerns.
Just as indiscriminate attempts to “westernize” Japanese women were misguided, so too were attempts to “masculinize” them. Giving women an education that put them on a par with men was a waste of time—not because women were incapable of excelling in their lessons in “Kant and Milton” but because these lessons not only did women no good, they rendered them useless, contributed to their unhappiness, and ultimately led to the destruction of the home (and nation). Again, in the words of the poet and educator Ikebukuro Kiyokaze: Male and female students possess the same innate ability to learn.
And don’t overstep your bounds as a woman. If you have the leisure to criticize us with that fancy writing brush of yours, then your time would be better served sewing dust cloths. ”87 Usurai had made too much of herself and of her own ideas. 88 It was unseemly for such women to take themselves so seriously. Their writing was to be regarded as “housewife art” (okusama gei), as it was termed by five men who coauthored a 1908 article in the literary journal Shincho¯ (New Tide): “It is half for self-amusement that women write fiction (sho¯setsu).