Skip to main content
placeholder image

Domestic roles and the incorporation of women into the nation-state: The emergence and development of the ‘good wife, wise mother’ ideology

Chapter


Abstract


  • In many languages, including English, the word 'citizen' is gender neutral, denoting a member of the nation, whether male or female. In Japanese, too, the word kokumin is apparently gender neutral. 1 Upon further reflection, however, it is clear that national membership is very different depending upon whether one is a woman or a man. The fukoku kyohei (wealthy nation, strong army) slogan that appeared in Japan during the 1870s, for example, envisaged male citizens who engaged in productive activities in order to make the nation prosperous and who defended the nation as soldiers.r Both men and women were considered to be subjects of the modern nation-state. In contrast to men's roles, however, the relationship of women with the nation was far less obvious. This may be because there were different expectations of women with respect to their duties as national subjects when compared to men, who took on productive and military duties. What, then, were the mechanisms which turned women into national subjects in modern Japan? In examining this question, I will discuss the ryi5sai kenbo ('good wife, wise mother') ideology that emerged in the late nineteenth century. According to this ideology, as described in detail below, women were not simply assigned such household functions as performing housework and childrearing. Rather, these roles were reinterpreted according to the logic of the state which positioned women as national subjects

UOW Authors


Publication Date


  • 2014

Citation


  • Shizuko, K. & Mackie, V. (2014). Domestic roles and the incorporation of women into the nation-state: The emergence and development of the ‘good wife, wise mother’ ideology. In A. Germer, V. Mackie & U. Wöhr (Eds.), Gender, Nation and State in Modern Japan (pp. 85-100). London: Taylor and Francis.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781315768670

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84951143099

Book Title


  • Gender, Nation and State in Modern Japan

Has Global Citation Frequency


Start Page


  • 85

End Page


  • 100

Place Of Publication


  • London

Abstract


  • In many languages, including English, the word 'citizen' is gender neutral, denoting a member of the nation, whether male or female. In Japanese, too, the word kokumin is apparently gender neutral. 1 Upon further reflection, however, it is clear that national membership is very different depending upon whether one is a woman or a man. The fukoku kyohei (wealthy nation, strong army) slogan that appeared in Japan during the 1870s, for example, envisaged male citizens who engaged in productive activities in order to make the nation prosperous and who defended the nation as soldiers.r Both men and women were considered to be subjects of the modern nation-state. In contrast to men's roles, however, the relationship of women with the nation was far less obvious. This may be because there were different expectations of women with respect to their duties as national subjects when compared to men, who took on productive and military duties. What, then, were the mechanisms which turned women into national subjects in modern Japan? In examining this question, I will discuss the ryi5sai kenbo ('good wife, wise mother') ideology that emerged in the late nineteenth century. According to this ideology, as described in detail below, women were not simply assigned such household functions as performing housework and childrearing. Rather, these roles were reinterpreted according to the logic of the state which positioned women as national subjects

UOW Authors


Publication Date


  • 2014

Citation


  • Shizuko, K. & Mackie, V. (2014). Domestic roles and the incorporation of women into the nation-state: The emergence and development of the ‘good wife, wise mother’ ideology. In A. Germer, V. Mackie & U. Wöhr (Eds.), Gender, Nation and State in Modern Japan (pp. 85-100). London: Taylor and Francis.

International Standard Book Number (isbn) 13


  • 9781315768670

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-84951143099

Book Title


  • Gender, Nation and State in Modern Japan

Has Global Citation Frequency


Start Page


  • 85

End Page


  • 100

Place Of Publication


  • London