chapter  1
21 Pages

History of women’s education in pre-WWII Japan

This chapter covers the history of the establishment of the modern education system in Japan from the beginning of the Meiji era until the Second World War. It sheds light on the foundation and evolution of the Japanese school system, with a particular focus on the development of women’s access to higher and science education. It also discusses the concept of ‘good wives, wise mothers’ (ryōsai kenbo), which influenced the development of girls’ education and schools. Part of the government’s policy included, the establishment of Higher Normal Schools as the highest education institutions for women, and the further development of women-only colleges in the private sector. Emerging from a non-existent or narrow path, some women managed to become scientists and even obtained doctoral degrees by the late 1920s. The last section looks at some women’s movements of that time and their achievements leading up to WWII.