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Epilogue: The Meaning of Ryōsai Kenbo Thought

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Chapter Summary

In the history of the period between the mid-Edo and early Shōwa periods, three different models of womanhood made their appearance: the ryōsai or good wife discussed in Edo-period instructional texts for girls (jokunsho); the ryōsai kenbo described in theories of girls’ education following the Sino-Japanese War; and the new ryōsai kenbo who appeared in theories of girls’ education and in morality textbooks. These models of women served as ideals, and did not necessarily conform to actual conditions. However, they are vivid indications of what was expected of women in the society of those periods, and how the image of the ideal woman changed in conjunction with historical developments. In addition, they reveal the ways in which women were utilized for the sake of the ie and the nation-state.

Keywords:Edo period; girls’ education; morality textbooks; ryosai kenbo thought; Shōwa period; Sino-Japanese War



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