Reforming Japan: The Women's Christian Temperance Union in by Elizabeth Dorn Lublin

By Elizabeth Dorn Lublin

In 1902 the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) petitioned the japanese executive to prevent lucrative sturdy deeds with the bestowal of sake cups. Alcohol construction and intake, its participants argued, harmed participants, endangered public welfare, and wasted important assets. This crusade was once a part of a wide-ranging reform application to cast off prostitution, eliminate consuming, unfold Christianity, and enhance the lives of ladies. As Elizabeth Dorn Lublin indicates, participants didn't passively settle for and propagate executive coverage yet felt an obligation to form it through defining social difficulties and influencing opinion. sure their ideals and reforms have been necessary to Japan’s development, individuals couched their demands switch within the rhetorical language of nationwide growth. eventually, the WCTU’s activism belies got notions of women’s public involvement and political engagement in Meiji Japan.

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They were carving out for themselves a place in the public sphere. Moreover, through their statement of purpose, they were asserting a vision of a better Japan and claiming the right and responsibility to help realize it. In the months and years ahead, they would launch a variety of activities to achieve that vision, and through those activities they would provide not only a model of action and citizenship for others but also advance the feminist movement. indd 32 15/03/2010 3:56:55 PM 2 The Tumultuous Early Years of the Tokyo WCTU: 1886-92 The founding of the Tokyo WCTU did not occur in a vacuum of women’s public activism.

They circumvented the ban on direct evangelization of Japanese by using the Scriptures, Christian readers, and other works imparting or upholding Christian doctrine in the classroom – in other words, by infusing their language, history, and science instruction with religion. One missionary even hung the Ten Commandments and Scripture passages translated into Japanese on the walls of his dispensary. 3 Both before and after that, they imported Christian texts written in Chinese and English. The educated could read the former, and missionary instruction aimed to help students understand the latter.

In addition, he invited her to speak at the first in a series of lectures sponsored by the magazine’s publishing company. That meeting took place on July 17, and, though Iwamoto had advertised it as for women only, men joined in the audience of more than six hundred, including a teenage Yamamuro Gumpei, who a decade later would become the first Japanese officer in the Salvation Army. Leavitt had insisted on a female interpreter, probably in order to show her listeners what a Japanese woman could do in public.

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