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Japanese Girls and Women in History - Book Report/Review Example

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Japanese Girls and Women: A Review In the preface of the second edition of her book Japanese Girls and Women, Alice Mabel Bacon discusses her pleasure at having been able to visit Japan in order to create a sociological study of Japanese women within the domestic space…
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Japanese Girls and Women in History
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Japanese Girls and Women in History

Download file to see previous pages... The work is only her observations and conclusions about what she sees, not a fully researched study that can be taken as factual for all women in Japan and as cultural accurate. As sources, she lists her friendship with several Japanese women, Miss Ume Tsuda who was a teacher in Tokyo who helped to revise the work, and influences from authors that she refers to only by their last names as Griffi who wrote Mikado’s Empire, and Rein, who wrote Japan. In the first preface that was written and included in this second edition, Bacon discusses why her gender is relevant to understanding the domestic life in Japan. The Japanese people are very polite and enclose their personal experiences within the home behind a veil of privacy. She believes that, even though a great number of men have written on the topic of the culture of Japan, as a woman she has a broader foundation for inserting herself into the domestic space in order to better understand her subject matter. In a time period where gender was highly relevant to the approach made upon life in the Western world, Bacon placed herself in a position to sociologically observe and report, a position that was primarily held by men. Being a woman has allowed her to create intimate friendships with Japanese women, and this along with research of other sociologically based writings, were the basis of her first edition. Gender, as it relates to inquiry, is of personal interest and provides a different vantage point when exploring other cultures. Bacon begins her discourse by starting at the birth of the Japanese female infant, comparing the experience of being an infant in Japan as no different as being in the West. She notes that the birth of boys is more important than that of girls as they carry on the heritage of their family. Using a great deal of details, she describes a ceremony that takes place on the 31st day after the baby is born called the miya mairi, in which the child is adorned in a finery made of silk or crepe and presented in the temple.i She will go twice more on the 15th of November, once at the age of three and once at the age of seven, in order to celebrate her movement into the next phase of her life.ii An interesting observation is made about the influences of the West on the Japanese culture of the time as baby carriages were being sold that had not been a part of Japanese culture before the influence of the West.iii In describing the female child’s greatest lesson in life before school, Bacon states “The child must sink herself entirely, must give up always to others, must never show any emotions except such as will be pleasing to those about her: this is the secret of true politeness, and must be mastered if the woman wishes to be well thought of and to lead a happy life”.iv She outlines the learning that the female child must undergo in order to present a well hosted home. Bacon continues forward discussing the various aspects of the life of a Japanese girl, noting that they were included in the education system during that period of time, where in previous eras they had not been. The one fault she finds with the education system is the literacy which requires so much education time to teach that it distracts from other pursuits. As Bacon continues to discuss the life of a girl, and then woman in Japan during the late 18th century, she goes through discussions on music education, which was almost exclusive to women, through the wedding of a Japanese woman as she is given an extensive ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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