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postgraduate thesis: Cultivating new ryōsai kenbo : St. Agnes' School in the Meiji period

TitleCultivating new ryōsai kenbo : St. Agnes' School in the Meiji period
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chen, S. [陳霜麗]. (2015). Cultivating new ryōsai kenbo : St. Agnes' School in the Meiji period. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5435641
AbstractThis thesis examines the contribution and influence that American Protestant missionary girls’ schools had on Japanese women’s education during the Meiji period. Between 1868 and 1912, over thirty missionary girls’ schools were established. These schools had the primary aim of introducing Christianity to Japanese female students. However, at the same time, they provided young women with opportunities for schooling outside of their families and played a pioneering role in promoting “Western enlightenment” inside and outside the classrooms. Set against the backdrop of Japan’s modernization efforts, this thesis uses as a case study St. Agnes’ School (Heian Jogakkō), one of the oldest missionary girls’ schools in the Kansai region, to consider how it cultivated new middle-class women through its education. Under the slogan of ryōsai kenbo (good wife, wise mother), the Japanese government introduced primary school education for girls as a part of its initiative to build a modern nation. The government considered the home women’s proper sphere and showed little interest in developing women’s secondary and higher education in the first two decades. Therefore it was private schools including missionary girls’ schools like St. Agnes’ that stepped in and filled the void for secondary education. Furthermore, the school introduced advanced courses such as bungaku bu (Arts Division) and kasei bu (Home Economics Division) in 1895. The aim of bungaku bu was to cultivate women who could engage in work for the public benefit. St. Agnes’ School was established by the Episcopal Church of the United States of America in 1875 in Osaka and later moved to Kyoto in 1895. The thesis explores the academics and practical skills St. Agnes’ taught in its classrooms, chapel, and dormitory. These included English language, Bible classes, science, physical training, and domestic science, including skills such as needlework and the concept of hygiene, which were considered important for American middle-class women. In addition, the school presented regulations on girl students’ decorum, provided a mentoring relationship between missionaries and students, and encouraged girl students to participate in charity and volunteer work such as raising funds for the poor, orphans, and disaster victims. By using historical documents, including the letters of American Episcopal missionaries and students’ letters and essays in from the archives of St. Agnes’ School, the thesis argues that missionary girls’ schools like St. Agnes’ School cultivated new ryōsai kenbo and ultimately new middle-class womanhood. It presents a case study of its two star graduates: Ukita Fuku, a scholarship recipient who later became a teacher at her alma mater; and Izumi Sonoko, who successfully developed American cookie-baking skills into a family business and became one of the most successful businesswomen and philanthropists of her time. Through their missionary school education, they acted as new middle-class women who engaged in “socially sanctioned activities” such as teaching and charity services in the social sphere. The education helped to construct new norms for middle-class women who worked in both domestic and social spheres in modern Japan.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectWomen - Education (Secondary) - Japan - History - 20th century
Women - Education (Secondary) - Japan - History - 19th century
Dept/ProgramModern Languages and Cultures
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/209473

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorChen, Shuangli-
dc.contributor.author陳霜麗-
dc.date.accessioned2015-04-23T23:10:47Z-
dc.date.available2015-04-23T23:10:47Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationChen, S. [陳霜麗]. (2015). Cultivating new ryōsai kenbo : St. Agnes' School in the Meiji period. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5435641-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/209473-
dc.description.abstractThis thesis examines the contribution and influence that American Protestant missionary girls’ schools had on Japanese women’s education during the Meiji period. Between 1868 and 1912, over thirty missionary girls’ schools were established. These schools had the primary aim of introducing Christianity to Japanese female students. However, at the same time, they provided young women with opportunities for schooling outside of their families and played a pioneering role in promoting “Western enlightenment” inside and outside the classrooms. Set against the backdrop of Japan’s modernization efforts, this thesis uses as a case study St. Agnes’ School (Heian Jogakkō), one of the oldest missionary girls’ schools in the Kansai region, to consider how it cultivated new middle-class women through its education. Under the slogan of ryōsai kenbo (good wife, wise mother), the Japanese government introduced primary school education for girls as a part of its initiative to build a modern nation. The government considered the home women’s proper sphere and showed little interest in developing women’s secondary and higher education in the first two decades. Therefore it was private schools including missionary girls’ schools like St. Agnes’ that stepped in and filled the void for secondary education. Furthermore, the school introduced advanced courses such as bungaku bu (Arts Division) and kasei bu (Home Economics Division) in 1895. The aim of bungaku bu was to cultivate women who could engage in work for the public benefit. St. Agnes’ School was established by the Episcopal Church of the United States of America in 1875 in Osaka and later moved to Kyoto in 1895. The thesis explores the academics and practical skills St. Agnes’ taught in its classrooms, chapel, and dormitory. These included English language, Bible classes, science, physical training, and domestic science, including skills such as needlework and the concept of hygiene, which were considered important for American middle-class women. In addition, the school presented regulations on girl students’ decorum, provided a mentoring relationship between missionaries and students, and encouraged girl students to participate in charity and volunteer work such as raising funds for the poor, orphans, and disaster victims. By using historical documents, including the letters of American Episcopal missionaries and students’ letters and essays in from the archives of St. Agnes’ School, the thesis argues that missionary girls’ schools like St. Agnes’ School cultivated new ryōsai kenbo and ultimately new middle-class womanhood. It presents a case study of its two star graduates: Ukita Fuku, a scholarship recipient who later became a teacher at her alma mater; and Izumi Sonoko, who successfully developed American cookie-baking skills into a family business and became one of the most successful businesswomen and philanthropists of her time. Through their missionary school education, they acted as new middle-class women who engaged in “socially sanctioned activities” such as teaching and charity services in the social sphere. The education helped to construct new norms for middle-class women who worked in both domestic and social spheres in modern Japan.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshWomen - Education (Secondary) - Japan - History - 20th century-
dc.subject.lcshWomen - Education (Secondary) - Japan - History - 19th century-
dc.titleCultivating new ryōsai kenbo : St. Agnes' School in the Meiji period-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5435641-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineModern Languages and Cultures-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5435641-

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