Women, Work, and Education in Modern Japan : An observation of the career life and the social role of Yayoi Yoshioka
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The main purpose of this paper is to show and consider the several aspects of women and work in modern Japan, observing the case of Yayoi Yoshioka as the example of the exceptional educational leader who mainly dealt with and devoted herself to the development of women's work and social contribution in the period of pre-war and wartime Japan. She was a professional woman, a medical doctor herself, the founder and educator of the female medical education, and the very influential leader of various types of social education groups for women. In the development of female education in the latter part of Meiji Era (1868-1900), the image of ‗Being a good wife and wise mother' was stressed very much as the finest ideal, and also was regarded as almost the only educational goal for girls (Ryo-sai-ken-bo). There, basically, women were expected not to work outside their domestic sphere, having any neither occupations nor professions. And the most important of all was that Ryo-sai-ken-bo was set as the educational goal of the most female secondary schools Jogakko. Yoshioka is located at the very unique status in the history of female education as such in four reasons. First, she was a pioneer in the professional education for women in modern Japan. Secondly, she also took the strong leadership in Shojo-kai, later Joshi-Seinendan, both of which were nation-wide regional non-formal groups for the female youth. Thirdly, Yoshioka was appointed to the only female member of the Advisory Committee of Education (established in 1937), which was to discuss the policy and strategies of educational reform under the remodeled structure of the all-out war. And fourthly, she took part in many kinds of organizations and voluntary groups, as a leader or equivalent status. For Yoshioka, all of these were pursued in order to establish the social status and to get the social power of the female medical doctors. By looking at her wide range of achievements and very powerful remarks in various kinds of media, we can see another aspect of female education in modern Japan. On the defeat of the war in 1945, Yoshioka was banished both from the educational job status and from the official job status, being accused of leading the people to the invading war. But, at least, we can learn so many of the positive and negative lessons from her case, and start thinking about the relationship among these: women, work, education and social development.
- Lifelong education and libraries
Lifelong education and libraries (11), 25-46, 2011-11
Lifelong Education and Libraries, Graduate School of Education, Kyoto University