cover image Tsuda Umeko and Womens Education in Japan

Tsuda Umeko and Womens Education in Japan

Barbara Rose. Yale University Press, $56 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-300-05177-3

In her well-researched study, a former English instructor at a Japanese college details the efforts of a samurai daughter in turn-of-the-century Tokyo to improve the lot of upper-class women. Sent by the Japanese government to the U.S. at age six to absorb Western ideas, Tsuda Umeko lived for 11 years in a privileged American home and went to private schools. She returned to Tokyo with notions reflecting an American reformist vision of feminine roles. Arguing that women should be more than domestic slaves and the bearers of sons, she believed higher education made women more interesting companions for their husbands. The Women's English School she founded in 1900 offered both intellectual stimulation and teacher-training as an economic alternative to unsuitable marriages. This very readable scholarly work opens intriguing vistas on Japanese women's history. ( Feb. )