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Good women for empire: educating overseas female emigrants in imperial Japan, 1900–45*

  • Sidney Xu Lu (a1)
Abstract

This article examines two tutelage campaigns launched by Japanese social reformers targeting Japanese emigrant women in Manchuria and California in the first two decades of the twentieth century. It reveals how these two middle-class-based social campaigns jointly paved the way for the Japanese state's ‘continental bride’ policy in the late 1930s, which mobilized and exported women from across the nation to Manchuria on an unprecedented scale. Synthesizing the stories of Japan's colonialism in Manchuria and Japanese labour migration to the American Pacific coast, this study traces the convergence and flows between the women's education campaigns in Japanese communities on both sides of the Pacific. It moves the debate of Japanese imperialism beyond Asia and situates it in a transnational space encompassing the local, the national, and the global.

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I am deeply grateful to Frederick Dickinson, Eiichiro Azuma, Ayako Kano, Siyen Fei, Tak Fujitani for their insightful comments. I owe an intellectual debt to Rachel Throop, who has carefully read every word of the draft and offered invaluable challenges and discussions. I would also like to thank JGH editors and anonymous readers for their sage advice, which allowed me to substantially refine my arguments.

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1 Jikiyo, Kanō, ‘Manshū to onna tachi (Manchuria and women)’, in Ōe Shinobu, ed., Bōchō suru teikoku no jinryū (Human flow of the expansive empire), vol. 5 of Iwanami kōza: kindai nihon to shokuminchi (Iwanami lecture series: modern Japan and its colonies), Tokyo: Iwanami Shutten, 2005, pp. 211212

2 Kazuhiko, Aiba, Jin, Chen, Sachie, Miyata, and Jun, Nakashima, eds., Manshū ‘dairiku no hanayome’ wa dō tsukurareta ka (How Japanese ‘continental brides’ were made in Manchuria), Tokyo: Akashi Shotten, 1996, pp. 204211

3 Ibid. pp. 13–14.

4 Gunpei, Yamamuro, ‘Manshu no jochu yushutsu (Exporting housemaids to Manchuria)’, Kakusei (Purity), 2, 6, July 1912, p. 32

5 Michiko, Kawai, ‘Tobei fujin wa seiko shitsutsu ari ya (Are Japanese women in the US successful?)’, Joshi Seinen Kai (Young Women of Japan), 13, 10, October 1916, p. 55

6 Azuma, Eiichiro, Between two empires: race, history, and transnationalism in Japanese America, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005, pp. 1730

7 Young, Louise, Japan's total empire: Manchuria and the culture of wartime imperialism, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1999, p. 331

8 Azuma, Eiichiro, ‘ “Pioneers of overseas Japanese development”: Japanese American history and the making of expansionist orthodoxy in imperial Japan’, Journal of Asian Studies, 67, 4, 2008, p. 1203

9 Masterson, Daniel M. and Funada-Classen, Sayaka, The Japanese in Latin America, Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2004, pp. 2728

Endoh, Toake, Exporting Japan: politics of emigration toward Latin America, Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2009, pp. 5979

10 Ambaras, David, ‘Social knowledge, cultural capital, and the new middle class in Japan, 1895–1912’, Journal of Japanese Studies, 24, 1, 1998, pp. 133

11 Garon, Sheldon, Molding Japanese minds: the state in everyday life, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997

Frühstück, Sabine, Colonizing sex: sexology and social control in modern Japan, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003

Lublin, Elizabeth Dorn, Reforming Japan: the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in the Meiji period, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2010

12 Karen Colligan-Taylor, ‘Translator's introduction’, in Yamazaki Tomoko, Sandakan Brothel No. 8, trans. Karen Colligan-Taylor, New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1999

13 Ikumi, Yanagisawa, ‘ “Shashin hanayume” wa “otto no dorei” datta no ka: “shashin hanayume” tachi no katari wo chūshin ni (Are “picture brides” their “husbands’ slaves”? Focus on the words of the “picture brides”)’, in Shimada Noriko, ed., Shashin hanayome sensō hanayome no tadotta michi: josei iminshi no hakkutsu (Crossing the ocean: a new look at the Japanese picture brides and war brides), Tokyo: Akashi Shoten, 2009, p. 62

14 Kano, Ayako, Acting like a woman in modern Japan: theater, gender, and nationalism, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001

Ueno, Chizuko, Nationalism and gender, trans. Beverley Yamamoto, Melbourne: Trans Pacific Press, 2004

Horiguchi, Noriko, Women adrift: the literature of Japan's imperial body, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2011

Ikuko, Suzuki, Feminizumu to sensō: fujin undōka no sensō kyōryoku (Feminism and war: Japanese feminists’ collaboration with war), Tokyo: Marujusha, 1997

Sentā, Tomisaka Kirisutokyō, Josei kirisutosha to sensō (Japanese female Christians and war), Tokyo: Kohro-sha, 2002

15 The Kantō administration refers to the Japanese civilian government. Established in 1906, it was in charge of the leased territories in the Liaodong Peninsula that Japan obtained from the Qing empire following the Russo-Japanese War.

16 Peiss, Kathy, ‘ “Charity girls” and city pleasure: historical notes on working-class sexuality, 1880–1920’, in Thomas Dublin and Kathryn Sklar, eds., Women and power in American history, vol. 2, 2nd edn, Harlow: Pearson, 2001, p. 74

17 Masanao, Kurahashi, Kita no karayuki-san (Japanese overseas prostitutes in the north), Tokyo: Kyoei Shobō, 1989, p. 38

18 Masanao, Kurahashi, ‘Kyūseigun no Dairen Fujin Home (The Salvation Army's Dairen Women's Home) (1)’, Kikkan Chūkoku (China Quarterly), 11, Winter 1987, p. 48

19 The ‘shame’ referred to Japanese prostitutes in Manchuria: see Fujin Shinpō (Women's Herald), 109, May 1906, p. 159.

20 ‘Manshū Fujin Kyūsaikai genjō (The current situation of the Japanese Women's Home in Manchuria)’, Fujin Shinpō, 110, June 1906, pp. 19–21.

21 Kurahashi, ‘Kyūseigun no Dairen Fujin Home (1)’, p. 54

22 Davidann, Jon Thares, A world of crisis and progress: the American YMCA in Japan, 1890–1930, Bethlehem, PA: Lehigh University Press, 1998, pp. 112117

23 Ibid., p. 113.

24 Masanao, Kurahashi, ‘Manshū fujin kyūsai to Masutomi Masasuke (Masutomi Masasuke and campaigns to save Japanese women in Manchuria)’, Rekishigaku Kenkyū (Journal of Historical Studies), 598, 10, 1989, pp. 3639

25 Ibid., p. 40.

26 Masanao, Kurahashi, ‘Kyūseigun no Dairen Fujin Home (The Salvation Army's Dairen Women's Home) (2)’, Kikan Chūkoku, 12, Spring 1988, p. 48

27 Sei, Kiyama, ‘Hokushi oyobu Manshū dendō kaishi tenmatsu ryakki (A short report on the start of the evangelical missions in north China and Manchuria)’, Fujin Shinpō, 2140, 4 March 1937

Katsuhito, Kurahashi, ‘Manshū ni okeru karayuki kyūsai jigyō (The campaigns to save Japanese overseas prostitutes in Manchuria) (3)’, Kirisutokyō Shakai Mondai Kenkyū (Study of Christianity and Social Problems), 58, 2010, p. 23

28 Frühstück, Colonizing sex, p. 35

29 Ibid., p. 36.

30 Fisher, Galen, Japanese young men in war and peace, New York: The International Committee of Young Men's Christian Associations, 1905, pp. 56

31 Frühstück, Colonizing sex, p. 37

32 Takeshi, Fujinaga, ‘Nichiro sensō to nihon ni yoru ‘manshū'e no kōshō seido ishoku (The Russo-Japanese War and Japan's translation of the licensed prostitution system to Manchuria)’, in Kairaku to kisei: kindai ni okeru goraku no yukue (Pleasure and licence: the path of entertainment in modern times), Osaka: Osaka Sangyō Daigaku Sangyō Daigaku Kenkyūjo, 1998, pp. 7277

33 Ibid.

34 Ibid.

35 Kurahashi, ‘Kyūseigun no Dairen Fujin Home (1)’, p. 55

36 Manshū Nichinichi Shinbun, 10 August 1910.

37 Gunpei, Yamamuro, ‘Manshū ni okeru fujin kyūsai (The campaigns to save Japanese women in Manchuria)’, Kakusei, 2, 6, 1912, p. 30

38 See above, n. 18.

39 Masano, Kurahashi, ‘Kyūseigun no Dairen Fujin Home (2)’, pp. 46–49

40 Masasuke, Masutomi, ‘Manshū ni okeru nihon shogyōfu (Japanese prostitutes in Manchuria) (1)’, Yorozu Chōhō (Yorozu News), 8 December 1907

Kenichi, Yuhara, ‘Kyokudō ajia e no nihonjin imin to shōfu (Japanese emigrants and prostitutes in East Asia)’, Aichi Ronsō (Aichi Forum), 79, 2005, p. 21

41 Hakuyō, Shibata, ‘Mankan ni okeru santantaru shugyōfu (The wretched Japanese prostitutes in Manchuria)’, Kakusei, 1, 5, November 1911

Hakuyō, Shibata, ‘Dairen no fūki’, Kakusei, 2, 4, April 1912, p. 165

Ketsu, Shin and Masami, Nagaoka, eds., Shokuminchi shakai jigyō kankei shiryōshū: Manshū/Manshūkoku hen (Documents relating to social issues in Japanese colonies: Manchuria/Manchukuo), Tokyo: Kingendai Shiryō Kenkōkai, 2005, vol. 9, p. 144

42 Manshū Nichinichi Shinbun, 22 November 1907.

43 Kurahashi, ‘Kyūseigun no Dairen Fujin Home (2)’, p. 46

44 Manshū Nichinichi Shinbun, 24 July 1912.

45 Kurahashi, ‘Kyūseigun no Dairen Fujin Home (1)’, p. 53

Shin and Nagaoka, Shokuminchi shakai, vol. 6, p. 294

46 Asobu, Yanagisawa, Nihonjin no shokuminchi keiken: Dairen nihonjin shōkō gyōsha no rekishi (Japanese people's experience of the colonies: a history of Japanese manufacturers and businessmen in Manchuria), Tokyo: Aoki Shoten, 1999, pp. 2326

47 Michiko, Shimizu, ‘Jochu’ imeiji no katei bunkashi (A cultural history of the development of the housemaid's image), Tokyo: Sekai Shisōsha, 2004, pp. 7778

48 Yamamuro, ‘Manshū ni okeru fujin kyūsai’, p. 32

49 Masanao, Kurahashi, ‘Kyūseigun ni yoru Manshū e no “jochū” no yushutsu no kuwadate (The Salvation Army's attempt to export housemaids to Manchuria)’, Aichi Kenritsu Daigaku Bungakubu Ronshū (Forum of the Faculty of Literature at Aichi Prefecture University), 39, 1991, pp. 2122

50 ‘Manshū shugyōfu no fukuin: Yamamuro Taisa no dan (Good news for Japanese prostitutes in Manchuria: the words of the Reverend Yamamuro)’, Manshū Nichinichi Shinbun, 3 May 1912.

51 Yamamuro, ‘Manshū ni okeru fujin kyūsai’, p. 32

52 Kurahashi, ‘Kyūseigun ni yoru Manshū’, p. 32

Garon, Sheldon, ‘The world's oldest debate? Regulating prostitution and illicit sexuality’, in Molding Japanese minds, p. 95

53 Kurahashi, ‘Kyūseigun ni yoru Manshū’, pp. 20–21

54 Michiko, Shimizu, ‘ “Hashutsufu” came in: modification of the image of jochū (housemaid) between the two world wars’, Bulletin of Kansai University of International Studies, 4, March 2003, pp. 148–149

55 Kurahashi, ‘Kyūseigun ni yoru Manshū’, p. 18

56 Ibid., pp. 22–6.

57 Mihalopoulos, Bill, ‘Mediating the good life: prostitution and the Japanese Woman's Christian Temperance Union, 1880s–1920s’, Gender & History, 21, 1, 2009, p. 21

Shin and Nagaoka, Shokuminchi shakai, vol. 1, pp. 26–29

58 Garon, ‘World's oldest debate?’, pp. 88–114

59 Gunpei, Yamamuro, Shakai kakusei ron (On abolishing prostitution in society), Tokyo: Keiseisha Shotten, 1914, pp. 384392

60 Michiko, Kaiwai, ‘Nihon fujin no sekai hyō (Remarks on Japanese women in the world)’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 16, 3, March 1923, p. 1

61 Ibid., p. 2.

62 Isoo, Abe, Hokubei no shin nihon (A new Japan in North America), Tokyo: Hakubun Kan, 1905, pp. 6269

63 Yanagisawa ‘Shashin hanayome’, p. 6

64 Ibid., pp. 6–7.

65 Takako, Takanashi, ‘Shashin kekkon no hanashi (On picture marriage)’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 16, 4, April 1919, pp. 21–24

66 Ibid.

67 Michiko, Kawai, ‘Enjeru shima no ichinichi (One day on the Angel Island)’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 12, 8 and 9, September 1915, p. 50

68 Hideko, Ishuin, ‘Sōkō tayori (Report from San Francisco)’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 14, 2, February 1917, p. 30

69 Yonako, Abiko, ‘Zaibei Nihonjin Kirisutokyō Joshi Seinen kai sōritsu no shidai (On the establishment of the Japanese Young Women's Christian Association in the US)’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 9, 9, October 1912, pp. 17–18

70 Kono yiwa no ue ni: Yokohama YMCA hachijū nen shi (On this rock: seventy years of the Yokohama YMCA), Yokohama YMCA, 1993, p. 10.

71 Abiko, ‘Zaibei Nihonjin Kirisutokyō Joshi Seinen’, p. 16

72 ‘Chihō no tokōsha no katagata e (To those who go to the US)’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 16, 7, July 1919, p. 36.

73 Kei, Tanaka, ‘Japanese picture marriage in 1900–1924 California: construction of Japanese race and gender’, PhD thesis, State University of New Jersey, 2002, pp. 214–219

74 Michiko, Kawai, ‘Tobeisha no shiori (Guide for people going to the US)’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 14, 6, June 1917, pp. 23–27

75 ‘Tobeisha no shiori’, July 1917, p. 37; ‘Tobeisha no shiori’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 14, 8, August 1917, pp. 52–3.

76 ‘Tobeisha no shiori’, August 1917, pp. 54–5; ‘Tobeisha no shiori’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 14, 9, September 1917, pp. 39–41; ‘Tobeisha no shiori’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 14, 10, October 1917, pp. 27–9.

77 See ‘Chihō no tokōsha no katagata e’, p. 36; ‘Tobeisha no shiori’, October 1917, p. 29.

78 Ichioka, Yuji, ‘Amerika nadeshiko: Japanese immigrant women in the United States, 1900–1924’, Pacific Historical Review, 9, 2, 1980, pp. 347348

Yanagisawa, ‘Shashin hanayome’, pp. 64–65

79 Yasutake, Rumi, Transnational women's activism: the United States, Japan, and Japanese immigrant communities in California, 1859–1920, New York: New York University Press, 2004, p. 125

80 Rokuichi, Kusunoki, ‘Beikoku kashū engan no dōhō (Our brethren in California in the US)’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 11, 7, July 1914, p. 8

81 Yasutake, Transnational women's activism, p. 133

82 Rokuichi, Kusunoki, ‘Beikoku’, pp. 7–8

83 Yanagisawa, ‘Shashin hanayume’, pp. 69–76

84 Ibid., p. 77.

85 Tanaka, ‘Japanese picture marriage’, p. 211

Kawai, ‘Tobei fujin’, p. 11

86 Azuma, Between two empires, pp. 8–9

87 Zaibei Nihonjin Kai (Japanese American Association), ‘Shin tobei fujin no shiori (A new guide for women migrating to the US)’, 1919, p. 2

88 The passing of the 1924 Exclusion Act shut the American gate against any further Japanese migration.

89 Azuma, Between two empires, pp. 65–81

90 Kusunoki, ‘Beikoku’, pp. 7–8

91 Michiko, Kawai, ‘Kichō no aisatsu (Greetings after returning to Japan)’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 13, 9, October 1916, p. 5

92 Shizue, Miyagawa, ‘Shiberia shisatsu no ki (Note on the tour of investigation in Siberia)’, Fujin Shinpō, 261, April 1919, pp. 9–16

93 Katsuhito, Kurahashi, ‘ “Karayuki” to fujin kyōfūkai: Kyūshū no ichi chiiki joseishi no shikaku kara (2)’, Kirisutokyō Shakai Mondai Kenkyū, 52, 2003, p. 91

94 Seien, Nunokawa, ‘Shimabara Amakusa no kenkyū (A study of Shimabara and Amakusa)’, Fujin Shinpō, 267, October 1919, pp. 12–16

95 Miyagawa, ‘Shiberia’, p. 14

96 ‘Kirisutokyō Fujin kyōfūkai dainijunanakai daikai kiroku (Report of the Japanese Women's Christian Temperance Union's twentieth annual meeting)’, Fujin Shinpō, 262, May 1919, p. 25.

97 Kurahashi, ‘ “Karayuki” to fujin kyōfūkai (2)’, p. 90

98 Ibid., p. 89.

99 Ochimi, Kubushiro, ‘Shakai kaizen no kanki (Joy for the improvement of society)’, Fujin Shinpō, 291, December 1921, p. 5

100 Kurahashi, ‘ “Karayuki” to fujin kyōfūkai (2)’, p. 93

101 Lu, Sidney Xu, ‘The shame of empire: Japanese overseas prostitutes and prostitution abolition in modern Japan, 1880s–1920s’, positions: asia critique (forthcoming)

102 Akane, Onozawa, ‘Daiichiji sekai daisengo ni okeru haishō undō no kakudai: Nihon Kirisutokyo Fujin Kyōfū Kai no katsudō wo chūshin toshite (The expansion of the prostitution abolition movement after the First World War: the activities of the Japanese Women's Christian Temperance Union)’, Kokusai Kankeigaku Kenkyū (Studies of International Relations), 26, 1999, p. 60

103 Yōko, Watanabe, Kindai Nihon joshi shakai kyōiku seiritsu shi (A history of the establishment of women's education in modern Japan), Tokyo: Akashi Shoten, 1997, p. 109

104 Aiba, et al., Manshū, pp. 291–301

105 Ibid., p. 286.

106 Ibid., pp. 280–3.

107 Ibid.

108 ‘Yokohama iminbu no hataraki no ichibu (A section of the emigration organization in Yokohama)’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 16, 2, February 1919, p. 41.

109 Michiko, Kawai, ‘Nagasaki yuki (Heading for Nagasaki)’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 14, 10, November 1917, pp. 21–24

Michiko, Kawai, ‘Kyūshū yuki (Heading for Kyūshū)’, Joshi Seinen Kai, 14, 11, December 1917, pp. 24–29

110 Keisen Jogakuen gojūnen no ayumi (Fifty-year review of the Keisen School for Young Women), Tokyo: Keisen Jogakuen, 1979, p. 27. The school also had a special department for ‘overseas students’ (Ryūgakusei bekka), which provided training in housework skills and Japanese culture to nisei (second-generation) Japanese American female students.

111 Davin, Anna, ‘Imperialism and motherhood’, History Workshop Journal 5, 1, 20 March 1978, pp. 9–66

McClintock, Anne, Imperial leather: race, gender and sexuality in the colonial contest, New York and London: Routledge, 1995, p. 47

112 While my discussion focuses on the discourse surrounding ‘good’ women, as we can see, ‘bad’ women such as prostitutes were equally, if not more, necessary for the empire, though the latter demand was carefully hidden by the emphasis on respectable females.

113 Takumushō Takubeikyoku (Department of Northern Development, Ministry of Colonization), Joshi takushokusha teiyō (A guide for female colonists), 1942, pp. 124–5.

114 Ibid., p. 124. Purity-centred racial ideology was just one discourse on race in the history of the Japanese empire. Recent scholars have shown that Japanese racism was much more complicated than a belief in the homogeneity of the Yamato race. In Race for empire: Korean as Japanese and Japanese as American, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2011, Takashi Fujitani demonstrates a strong multi-ethnic racial discourse in Japan during the Asia-Pacific War. This discourse attempted to grant imperial citizenship to people in the colonies in order to mobilize all resources throughout the empire for the war.

115 Watt, Lori, When empire comes home: repatriation and reintegration in postwar Japan, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2009, p. 111

116 As demonstrated in an article in Asahi Shinbun on 24 April 1946, cited in ibid., pp. 111–12.

117 In two major repatriation centres in Hakata and Sasebo, the numbers of abortions conducted were 1,200–1,300 and 400–500 respectively (ibid., p. 120). Some of these women died in the abortion process (ibid., p. 115); others committed suicide owing to social pressure (ibid., p. 116).

118 Abortion was not legalized in Japan until 1948; the government-sponsored abortions among the female repatriates were conducted around 1945 and 1946. Ibid., p.119–20.

119 Ibid., p. 113. As Watt further observes (p. 125), this discourse also resulted in the collective silence of the repatriate women about the atrocities that they experienced in the post-war era. In contrast to some comfort women who eventually came forward to uncover the war crimes committed by the Japanese military, the assaulted repatriates had ‘nothing to gain and a great deal to lose by confirming suspicions of the violation’, since this would do nothing but further reinforce their otherness in Japanese society.

* I am deeply grateful to Frederick Dickinson, Eiichiro Azuma, Ayako Kano, Siyen Fei, Tak Fujitani for their insightful comments. I owe an intellectual debt to Rachel Throop, who has carefully read every word of the draft and offered invaluable challenges and discussions. I would also like to thank JGH editors and anonymous readers for their sage advice, which allowed me to substantially refine my arguments.

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