How Did American and Japanese Gender Hierarchies Shape Japanese Women's
Participation in the Transnational WCTU Movement in the 1880s?*


Beikoku fujin kyofukai insatsu gaisha [The National Woman's Christian Temperance Union Printing
Office], Fujin genron no jiyu [Let Your Women Keep Silence in the Churches (Women's Freedom of
Speech)], 1st ed., (Tokyo: Shueisha, 1888), title page. Courtesy of National Diet Library, Japan

Documents selected and interpreted by
Rumi Yasutake
Konan University
March 2009


   In July 1888, a Japanese woman, Toyojyu Sasaki, published a booklet titled Fujin genron no jiyu [Woman's Freedom of Speech].[1] An officer of the Japanese affiliate of the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WWCTU), Sasaki had translated into Japanese the original English version, "Let Your Women Keep Silence in the Churches," which had appeared in the 1 July 1886 issue of The Union Signal, the official organ of the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in the United States. In that article, an American author had reproduced her husband's speech, which protested a young minister's insistence that women keep silence in churches following the apostle Paul's injunction.[2] The husband argued that the injunction was only directed towards the Corinthian Christians who quarreled over the validity of buying meat from heathen dealers, and that it was only relevant in that particular situation during Paul's time. The husband successfully persuaded the minister of the preposterousness of applying Paul's words literally out of context and, thereby, justified women's speaking in churches and in public (see Document 6).

   The question about the appropriateness of women's public speaking had long been debated in the United States since it challenged nineteenth-century gender ideology. The fact that the WCTU published this article in 1886 and that Sasaki, as an officer of the Japanese affiliate of the WWCTU, subsequently translated and published the article in Japan in 1888, suggests the existence of a transnational WCTU network of American and Japanese activists who sought to liberate themselves from the restrictive gender ideology symbolized in Paul's injunction. This document project examines how American and Japanese gender hierarchies and ideologies of the 1880s affected the transnational expansion of the WCTU movement from the United States to Japan.

   The WCTU was well-known for its power as an organized mass of churchwomen armed with female moral authority. In late nineteenth and early twentieth century America, the WCTU successfully politicized women's roles and utilized the organized power of grassroots churchwomen to promote their feminist agendas, most notably prohibition and woman suffrage. According to recent studies, African American and immigrant women were also active in the WCTU movement to achieve their gender- as well as community-specific causes.[3] Less known, however, is the global impact of the WCTU movement carried out through the WWCTU. Mary C. Leavitt, who became the WWCTU's first "around-the-world missionary," began her westward voyage from San Francisco to the Sandwich (Hawai'ian) Islands in 1884 to organize WCTU unions in various parts of the world. Along the way, Leavitt visited Japan in 1886, before continuing her trip around the world, returning to New York in 1891.[4] Leavitt and the WWCTU workers who succeeded her helped establish more than forty international affiliates. At its peak in 1927, the WWCTU counted 766,000 dues-paying members.[5]

   In Japan, Leavitt's organizing tour resulted in a few local Western and Japanese women's unions. One of them, Tokyo fujin kyofukai (Tokyo woman's reform society; hereafter referred to as the Tokyo WCTU), an exclusively Japanese women's union, coalesced with other Japanese women's local unions into Japan's first national women's voluntary organization, Nihon fujin kyofukai (Japan woman's reform society) in 1893.[6] Today, the organization's name in English is the Japan Christian Women's Organization.

   The transnational expansion of the WCTU was the culmination of American churchwomen's activism propelled by their evangelical impulse. To bring salvation and civilization to "heathen" women, American churchwomen actively supported their denominational churches' missionary work that crossed the boundaries of race, class, culture, and nation in promoting the Gospel. Similarly, Frances E. Willard, the second president of the WCTU, was convinced that the movement should not be "hedged about by the artificial boundaries of states and nations," when she encountered what she viewed as "oriental degradation" among Asian immigrants during an organizing tour on the U.S. Pacific coast (see Document 22). Willard sought cooperation from Protestant missionary women who had been working in various parts of the world, supported by women's mission boards of Protestant churches (see Document 5). In fact, Leavitt traveled to non-Protestant nations by following the path that American missionaries had taken earlier, and established unions most typically composed of or led by American and Anglo-Protestant missionary women. Carrying the same messianic sense of "uplifting" the less civilized to meet their Protestant middle-class women's vision, American missionary and WCTU women were universalistic and assimilationist in their approach to non-Christians and non-Westerners. And thus, neither can be exempted from criticisms of their cultural imperialism and feminist Orientalism. In their minds, Christianity, gender relationships, progress, and civilization were closely entwined, and they used their culture-bound scale of civilization as a basis for ranking other societies.[7]

   At the same time, however, closely examining the expansion of the WCTU movement to non-Christian and non-Western nations reveals that the export of WCTU causes was far from a one-way coercive process in which powerful American churchwomen activists enforced their cultural values and systems on powerless natives of the host countries. In fact, by involving the gender hierarchies and ideologies of both the United States and the respective host country, the process of transnational expansion of the U.S.-based WCTU movement to Japan, for example, was quite complicated.

   After arriving at Yokohama, Japan, in June 1886, Leavitt introduced herself to an American missionary circle at this port open to foreigners. She received essential assistance from the missionary circle to start her organizing tour throughout Japan, but the rigid gender hierarchy in this tightly-knit missionary community significantly affected Leavitt's efforts.

   The earlier arrival in Yokahama of American missionary couples and single missionary women from Presbyterian and Reformed Churches, beginning in 1859, when U.S.-Japan treaties had established diplomatic relations, made possible what success Leavitt enjoyed. Among the early missionaries were Dr. James Curtis Hepburn (1815-1911) and his dutiful wife, Mrs. Clara Leete Hepburn (1818-1906), who eventually became influential veterans of the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle.[8] Despite conservative views of women in general and the limited roles for missionary women, single American missionary women arriving in post-Restoration Japan provided Christian education for Japanese women and children (see Document 1). In 1869, the foreign missionary board of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) sent Mary M. Kidder (1834-1910), who began converting a class previously taught by Mrs. Hepburn into a female boarding school in Yokohama.[9] In 1871, the Woman's Union Missionary Society of America for Heathen Lands (WUMS) dispatched two single women, Mary Pruyn (1821-1885) and Julia N. Crosby (1833-1918), and the widowed Mrs. Louise H. Pierson (1832-1899) to Yokohama.[10] Importantly, WUMS emerged in 1860 with interdenominational churchwomen's efforts to assist the work of single women missionaries in foreign fields, since male-controlled foreign missionary boards of denominational churches were reluctant to do so.[11] At Yokohama, these WUMS missionary women started the American Mission Home to provide care and education to orphans of mixed parentage as well as Japanese women and children.[12] In 1873, the Presbyterian foreign missionary board also sent to Japan three single missionary women including Kate Youngman (1841-1919). They joined a Presbyterian missionary couple, who began providing Christian education to Japanese in Tokyo, Japan's new capital city near Yokohama, and contributed to the emergence of two Presbyterian female schools.[13]

   Such developments in the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary community reflected both the gender dynamics and the gender hierarchy of late-nineteenth century American denominational churches, which engaged the evangelical enthusiasm of grassroots churchwomen. In fact, the number of American missionary women, married and unmarried, soon exceeded that of men, and women's projects rapidly expanded with funds raised by grassroots churchwomen. Such achievements, however, might have made some missionary women more cautious about not provoking male anxiety toward their increasing presence. Since the founding of the American Republic, women had been formally excluded from the male sphere of politics, and yet women collaborated with church authorities to influence the direction of the new Republic. In the process, churchwomen successfully legitimized their extra-domestic social activism as consecrated to God. At the same time, however, they were compelled to accept a circumscribed woman's sphere and roles that were different from as well as subordinate to those of men, who became clergy presiding at religious services and elders managing congregations. Although this inequality varied according to denomination, region, and social context, American churchwomen, who worked in major denominational missionary enterprises, in general, were barred from ordination, discouraged from preaching, and not empowered with a full voice in the male dominant decision-making processes of Protestant churches. Although women outnumbered men in church membership and their fund-raising ability increased women's influence, the basic male dominant structure of denominational churches persisted, or in some cases even intensified from the threat posed by the increasing female presence. Nonetheless, a majority of American churchwomen were reluctant to challenge the gender hierarchy directly. As a consequence, they endeavored to expand further women's sphere and to establish autonomy within it. American women's missionary movements limited them to working among women and children in the secular realm, encouraging women missionaries to cross the boundaries of class, race, and nation, but not to challenge the gender hierarchy. Although women missionaries of the interdenominational WUMS might have attained some autonomy, American missionary women in major denominational missionary enterprises worked more or less under male supervision.[14]

   In the Tokyo-Yokohama area, American missionary women, who came from an "advanced civilization," transcended the Japanese gender hierarchy, but were unable to free themselves from the restrictive American gender hierarchy under the watchful eyes of local missionary circles that maintained communication with mission boards in the United States. In the 1870s and 1880s when Japan attempted to abolish feudal customs and to attain the "advanced civilization" exhibited by the Western powers, progressive Japanese men were eager to listen to and learn from American missionaries, regardless of gender.[15] In the midst of Japan's efforts for modernization and "civilization," Japanese church people, who comprised a progressive force of the time, came under the hegemonic influence of American Protestant missionaries and WCTU workers, who were agents of not only Protestant religion but also middle-class American Protestant values and customs. These progressive Japanese men and women utilized and internalized American middle-class Protestant women's abhorrence of "backward" gender relations, which granted absolute power to the male household head, and even allowed him to take in concubines, to easily divorce his wife, and to send his wife and daughters into prostitution. In the eyes of American middle-class Protestant women, such a gender relationship represented "oriental degradation" in need of Christian uplifting (see Documents 11 and 22). Progressive Japanese men and women believed in the efficacy of Christianity and of churchwomen's social activism to correct Japan's "evil" and "uncivilized" customs. While there were some missionary women who interacted with these Japanese men, their violation of American gender hierarchy was not overlooked in the missionary circle. Importantly, the convention derived from Paul's injunction that discouraged women from public speaking came to be emphasized in order to restrain the activities of women missionaries within women's proper place. For example, two American missionary women, Mary Kidder and Mary Pruyn, were accused of violating the convention in their efforts to spread the Gospel in the mid-1870s. Pruyn was supported by the interdenominational WUMS and her prayer meetings were often attended by men and women. Mary Kidder worked in the RCA foreign missionary board and had just married a Presbyterian male missionary who changed his mission affiliation to match hers. When Mary Kidder, who became Mrs. Rothesay E. Miller, received a letter of admonition from John M. Ferris, the general secretary of the RCA foreign mission board, accusing her of breaking the convention, she did not object to the proceeding but only pleaded her innocence. Both she and her husband were then pursuing careers in the RCA foreign missionary enterprise, and she had no choice but to conform to the conventional women's roles prevalent both in the enterprise as well as in the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle (see Document 2). By cooperating closely with Japanese and American men, Mary (Kidder) Miller had successfully secured buildings to promote Christian education among Japanese women, and named the school the Ferris Seminary after the general secretary of the RCA foreign mission board. Nonetheless, she eventually left the seminary that she had founded in order to assume the conventional role of a missionary wife who accompanied and assisted her husband in his gospel work.[16]

   In the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary community, tensions often flared up over women's issues and intensified the conservative pressure to keep women in their proper place (see Document 3). Among Presbyterian missionaries in the circle, three single women arrived at Yokohama in 1873 and began their efforts in building female schools as formal projects of the denominational foreign missionary board, but all ultimately gave up their efforts by the end of the decade; one married a male missionary, another resigned from the board in disappointment, and the third, Kate Youngman, left the formal male-dominant structure of the board to carry out more individual "outside work" directly supported by Presbyterian women's groups in the United States. Nonetheless, women continued their efforts to build Presbyterian female schools in Tokyo and established two schools: Bancho School, under the management of the widowed Maria True, and Graham Seminary, supervised by Isabel Leete, Mrs. Hepburn's unmarried sister.[17]

   In the 1880s, when Japan saw a growing interest in education among Japanese women and girls, missionary women's secular efforts in providing Christian female education met their needs. In 1883, Toshiko Kishida (1863-1901), a celebrated woman activist of Japan's popular rights movement that embraced the concepts and vocabulary of recently-introduced Western liberal political ideas, appeared in public and argued for women's education (see Document 4). Although Kishida, who had little interaction with Western missionaries at this time, emphasized a traditional type of women's education in her advocacy of daughters' "learning and freedom," her appearance and speech in public fueled Japanese women's appetite for education.[18] In the 1880's clamor for "modernization" and "civilization," Japanese women crowded female mission schools known for fine Western education. This phenomenon was especially evident in True's Bancho School that was located in a prime location. Maria True along with her cohorts made vigorous efforts to expand the Bancho School to meet the ever-increasing demands of Japanese women and girls. Their ambitious endeavor and rapid success, however, provoked anxiety and criticism among male conservatives such as Dr. Hepburn (see Document 20). In response, True became even more cautious, concerned not to cause any "unnecessary" conflict that would hamper the school's expansion.[19]

   These gender dynamics in the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle certainly affected the activities of Mary C. Leavitt during her four-month visit to Japan from 1 June to 6 October 1886 and subsequent efforts of Japanese churchwomen to form a union in Tokyo, which became an affiliate of the WWCTU. On her arrival in Yokohama, Leavitt introduced herself to the missionary circle by first visiting the Bible Society in the city that was sustained by interdenominational Christian efforts. Soon she was introduced to Dr. Hepburn, met her old acquaintance, WUMS missionary Mrs. Anne L. Viele, and stayed with women missionaries working at the American Mission Home.[20] Through her interaction with WUMS missionaries working for the Home, Leavitt quickly realized that Paul's injunction was still influential in the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle. Describing the activities of WUMS women missionaries, Leavitt commented, "they also preach themselves and ought to have more encouragement in this work from their missionary brethren than they get" (see Document 10).

   Leavitt's report on her activities in Japan reveals the willingness of American missionary women in the Tokyo-Yokohama circle to provide accommodations and introduce her to Western women and their Japanese women protégés to promote her outreach efforts on behalf of the WWCTU. Presumably, however, American missionaries, with whom Leavitt worked closely, were hesitant to break openly the convention derived from Paul's injunction under pressure from the conservatives. Leavitt reported that she felt she gained "no foot-hold" for her efforts until she was introduced to a Japanese minister, "Rev. Mr. Ko[z]aki." Ironically, but not unexpectedly, this breakthrough came outside the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle, from "Rev. Orramel Gulick and Rev. Mr. DeForest, of the western mission," two Congregational missionaries stationed in the western region. Once Leavitt was introduced to Hiromichi Kozaki,[21] a Japanese minister who founded a church in Tokyo, she was invited to speak at Kozaki's church through his interpretation, and was linked to progressive Japanese men, including high officials of the Japanese government who were willing to cooperate with her.[22] Also in this circle was Yoshiharu Iwamoto, managing editor of a women's magazine Jogaku zasshi [Woman's Learning Magazine] (see Document 11).

   Like her fellow American missionary women, Leavitt transcended the Japanese gender hierarchy. As a worker for the WCTU, Leavitt did not intend to conform to the convention derived from Paul's injunction that was observed by American missionaries under pressure of male conservatives in the Tokyo-Yokohama area. Although the WCTU also pursued American churchwomen's separate sphere strategy emphasizing gender difference, it did not limit its activities to working only among women and children. Unlike women's missionary societies of denominational churches, the WCTU had successfully eliminated clerical control by establishing itself as an interdenominational women's organization promoting the secular cause of temperance.[23] Thus, once Leavitt established connections with Japanese men, she freely cooperated with them and spoke to both men and women in order to promote the temperance cause among the Japanese (see Document 11). In fact, Leavitt, and other WWCTU missionaries who followed her, found Japanese male progressives the most reliable collaborators for the temperance cause and contributed to the formation of male-led local temperance unions and of a national umbrella organization, Nihon kinshu domei (Japanese Temperance Union) in 1898.[24]

   Ironically, these progressive Japanese men also planted a seed for the WCTU movement among Japanese women. Supported by Hiromichi Kozaki and Sen Tsuda, who became an ardent supporter of Leavitt's temperance cause, Iwamoto's Jogaku zasshi [Woman's Learning Magazine] sponsored a public meeting on 17 July 1886. Importantly, the audience was limited to women only (see Document 7). Leavitt, who had recognized the limiting gender dynamics in the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle and the restricted position of Japanese churchwomen under their influence, endeavored to inspire Japanese churchwomen to agitate on their own behalf. Before speaking to the exclusively female audience on the 17th of July, Leavitt contributed a separate written message to Iwamoto's Jogaku zasshi in her attempt at liberating Japanese women from the gender ideology and hierarchy symbolized in Paul's injunction. The message translated into Japanese was titled "Nihon no shimai ni tsugu [A Message for My Japanese Sisters]" and appeared in Jogaku zasshi after Leavitt's departure in the fall of 1886 (see Documents 8A-8C). In the message, Leavitt argued that women were only responsible to God, and that Providence did not require a woman to ask for male approval to use her God-given talents. She legitimized women seeking higher education, pursuing careers, and speaking in public. According to Leavitt, if one interpreted the Bible properly there was no teaching that prohibited women from speaking in public. She insisted that under no circumstance should a woman who spoke in public to praise God, to protect home, and to advance humanity, be accused of overstepping her bounds.

   Leavitt was careful not to become the target of animosity and anxiety of male conservatives in the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle, and refrained from confronting their convention at the public meeting held on 17 July 1886 under the sponsorship of Iwamoto's Jogaku zasshi. Instead, interpreted by a graduate of Graham Seminary, Leavitt discussed the evils of drinking and smoking, and echoed American missionary men and women in advocating the need for reforms in Japanese dress, housing, and marriage practices. At the end of her speech, Leavitt called on the exclusively female audience to organize a Japanese union, and as a result, over thirty Japanese women agreed to form a Japanese women's union in Tokyo and scheduled a subsequent meeting to continue their efforts. This meeting was held at Meiji Jogakko [Meiji Woman's School] on 24 July 1886 (see Documents 9A and 9B).[25] On 7 August 1886, a second meeting was held at Meiji Woman's School to draft bylaws for the new organization.[26]

   In spite of her cautious approach, Leavitt's unrestrained activism had distanced her from the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle and their Japanese protégés. Although Japanese protégés of American missionary women in the Tokyo-Yokohama area, who were the teachers and graduates of their female mission schools, eventually became the chief disseminators of the WCTU movement in Japan, the most crucial initiative in organizing a Japanese women's union in Tokyo came from members of the Shitaya Church, who were not under the immediate influence of American missionaries in the region. One such person was Mr. Yoshiharu Iwamoto, the managing editor of Jogaku Zasshi, who played a crucial role in sponsoring Leavitt's public meeting for "Japanese ladies only" on 17 July 1886 and in publishing her written message to Japanese women. Importantly, Iwamoto came from the same town as Rev. Kumaji Kimura, pastor of Shitaya Church and founder of Meiji Woman's School in Tokyo. Kimura had been ordained in the Reformed tradition during his almost twelve-year stay in the United States. During his absence, his wife Toko took care of his grandmother and mother as well as their son. In the United States, benevolent churchwomen and their activism eased Kimura's struggles as a student. As a result, he came to regard American churchwomen highly, and on his return to Japan, endeavored to provide Christian education for Japanese women. His attempt to obtain funds from the RCA foreign mission board, however, did not succeed, and he built Meiji Woman's School in Tokyo with money raised by his church members. His wife Toko Kimura became the virtual manager of the school, and Yoshiharu Iwamoto enthusiastically assisted Rev. and Mrs. Kimura in building and managing the school.[27]

   While Toko Kimura played a crucial role in organizing the Japanese women's union, the effort was disrupted by her sudden death from cholera (see Document 11).[28] To sustain Mrs. Kimura's efforts, Iwamoto endeavored to publish Japanese translations of Leavitt's lectures and articles on the WWCTU.[29] Iwamoto's efforts to organize a woman's society for social reform were supported by Japanese Protestant clergy and male laymen. Prior to Leavitt's visit, they had already founded a male reform society, the Kyofukai [Reform Society] and its sub-society the Kinshukai [Prohibition Society]. On 9 November 1886, another meeting to form a women's union in Tokyo convened under the leadership of the wives of two Japanese Protestant ministers. One of them, Rev. Motoichiro Ogimi, president of the Kyofukai and a close friend of Rev. Kumaji Kimura, presided over the meeting. Yoshiharu Iwamoto served as the secretary. Forty-one churchwomen attended the meeting. Among them, twenty-two women agreed to be founders of the woman's union in Tokyo, and seven of them formed a committee to compose the bylaws for the new organization. The records of this meeting also indicate that two Presbyterian missionary women were supportive of Japanese churchwomen's efforts: Kate Youngman, then engaged in "outside work" independent of the Presbyterian foreign missionary enterprise but directly supported by Presbyterian women in New York; and Maria True, head of Bancho School, whose ambitious endeavor was becoming the target of conservative criticism. While Youngman was present at the meeting, True, who had indicated her support, was unable to attend. Presumably, True was not as free from the conforming pressure of the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle as Youngman was.[30]

   At the inaugural meeting held on 6 December 1886, the woman's union in Tokyo finally came into being as Tokyo fujin kyofukai [Tokyo woman's reform society; hereafter, the Tokyo WCTU]. Attracting churchwomen of various denominations in Tokyo, the inaugural meeting first announced the founding of the Tokyo WCTU, featured speeches by two Japanese ministers, and conducted an election of officers. Kajiko Yajima, who had been working under Maria True as an acting principal of the Bancho School, was elected the first president, and Toyojyu Sasaki, who later published Woman's Freedom of Speech, became one of the secretaries. Fifty-one Japanese women became members of this new organization. Its bylaws declared that the organization's purpose was "to correct social customs, to purify morality, to prohibit drinking and smoking, and to promote women's dignity."[31]

   As indicated by its Japanese name, Tokyo fujin kyofukai [Tokyo woman's reform society], however, the Tokyo WCTU in its first days was more like a women's section of the male-led Kyofukai [Reform society] until Toyojyu Sasaki voiced her objection. While many Japanese churchwomen waited for men to give instructions on the limits of women's social activism, Toyojyu Sasaki did not. She had intended to give a speech at the Tokyo WCTU's inaugural meeting, but decided against it because she was concerned about the tight schedule of the day packed with the election of officers and speeches by male ministers. Instead, she contributed an essay to Jogaku zasshi, in which she argued that women should break away from what were considered female virtues but were in actuality "evil," "obsequious," and "barbarian" customs. Among such customs was women's keeping silence (see Documents 12A-12C).

   Toyojyu Sasaki (1853-1901), from a pro-Tokugawa samurai family, the losing side of the Meiji Restoration, resisted the political and social developments under the new Meiji government dominated by men. Toyojyu was born into the family of a scholar of Chinese studies in the northern part of Japan. Without a son in the family, Toyojyu's father raised and educated her more as a son, and at the dawn of a new era, she had an opportunity to leave her hometown to receive further education. In the early 1870s, she studied with Mary Kidder in Yokohama and became familiar with American middle-class Protestant women's values and customs. Then, Toyojyu attended Dojinsha in Tokyo, a school established by Masanao Nakamura, a Confucian scholar of the Tokugawa era who became a so-called "enlightenment thinker" after his first-hand experience of the West in the early Meiji era. Dojinsha was attended by progressive Japanese men, including Yoshiharu Iwamoto, and it opened its doors to women in 1874 and used books such as John S. Mill's The Subjection of Women as textbooks.[32] Studying at Dojinsha, Sasaki was exposed to Western liberal political ideas. She found "true love" with a Christian doctor assisting the school, who had a wife and children from a previous marriage arranged by his father. After he divorced his wife, he and Toyojyu married in 1886.[33]

   After witnessing the model of women's social activism offered by Mary C. Leavitt, Sasaki envisioned women becoming socially active for themselves and their own causes.[34] She strongly desired to discuss social reform from women's perspectives. Tokyo WCTU members, however, were hesitant to engage in activism on their own. According to the reports on the Tokyo WCTU that appeared in Iwamoto's Jogaku zasshi in 1886 and 1887, its main activities included regular meetings among its members as well as larger meetings open to the public. Although there were some cases where Tokyo WCTU members themselves gave speeches at their regular meetings, their two large public meetings held in 1886 and early 1887 had only male speakers, usually Protestant clergy or social reformers. Thus, members of the Tokyo WCTU were initially mere recipients of male preaching on the new organization and on women's social activism. For example, when the Tokyo WCTU held its first great public meeting on 5 March 1887, Tokyo WCTU president Kajiko Yajima presided, but the three speakers on women's social activism were all Protestant clergymen (see Document 13). One of the three men who spoke at the meeting, Kajinosuke Ibuka, supported women's activism to improve their status based on Christian teachings of "monogamy," "sacred marriage," and "equality," but also counted on women's "gentility" and "humility" (see Documents 14A-14C). Although progressive Japanese men were willing to be instructed by American churchwomen, they expected Japanese women to conduct their evangelical and reform efforts under male guidance, to be a reflection of what they witnessed within the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle.

   Although Sasaki must have agreed with Ibuka's argument for the efficacy of Christianity in correcting "evil" feudal customs, she desired to generate women's activism and was indignant at the timidity of her fellow Tokyo WCTU members. To inspire them, Sasaki published another article in Jogaku zasshi right after the Tokyo WCTU meeting where the three men gave speeches.[35] In this article, she argued specifically for women to express their opinions. While recognizing the importance of cooperating with men, Sasaki insisted that the Tokyo WCTU should not be a men's but a women's organization and that men would never know women's pains and troubles unless women spoke out (see Document 15). Sasaki sought opportunities for women to break their silence in public. Her efforts received support from Yoshiharu Iwamoto and a few American missionary women, including Maria True, who had been struggling in the male-dominated Presbyterian foreign missionary enterprise. On 2 May 1887, just before the second public Tokyo WCTU meeting, which again invited only male speakers, Iwamoto's Jogaku zasshi sponsored its second public meeting, following the one held for Mary C. Leavitt, and this time four women gave speeches.[36] Two of the speakers were Tokyo WCTU members, Toyojyu Sasaki and Miya Ebina, a sister of the previously mentioned Rev. Kozaki, and the other two were American missionary women, Maria True and Dr. Adaline D. H. Kelsey, a WUMS missionary doctor. Importantly, however, the audience of the meeting was again limited to women (see Document 16).

   Presumably, Iwamoto respected the convention derived from Paul's injunction, still observed by the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle, by limiting the audience for the 2 May meeting to women. However, this effort received some criticism. The 7 May issue of Jogaku zasshi carried an editorial written by Iwamoto responding to the protest. While Iwamoto argued against those who prohibited women's public speaking based on Paul's injunction, he insisted that Japanese women should not rashly break the convention of American and European civilization where women did not speak in public (see Document 17). In fact, this convention of the advanced "civilization" greatly influenced Japanese women who had tried to break from Japanese gender customs earlier. For example, the once-celebrated public speaker of the popular rights movement, Toshiko Kishida, had also conformed to the practice of the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle. After marrying Nobuyuki Nakajima, a fellow activist in the popular rights movement, who had once assisted Mary Kidder in acquiring a building for her school, she was baptized and began teaching at Graham Seminary in Tokyo and Ferris Seminary in Yokohama and, thus, came under the conservative pressure of the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle. Although she used her pen in expressing her opinions, she stopped giving speeches in public.[37] On 13 May 1887, the Tokyo WCTU held its second large public meeting, but again invited only male speakers (see Document 18).

   For Toyojyu Sasaki and Miya Ebina, who had broken women's silence by speaking in front of a women-only audience, whether Tokyo WCTU members could address both men and women in public became an important issue symbolizing freedom and independence of the new women's organization. Having observed Mary C. Leavitt, who spoke freely in public and worked closely with both men and women, Sasaki inquired of the WWCTU, which had dispatched Leavitt to Japan, about the legitimacy of women's public speaking. In response, she received the WCTU article "Let Your Women Keep Silence in the Churches" (see Document 6). Sasaki completed translating the article into Japanese in October 1887. Presumably, she borrowed the argument from the article in order to persuade her fellow Tokyo WCTU members of the legitimacy of women speaking in public. Her efforts generated enough support to allow Sasaki and Ebina along with another Tokyo WCTU member, Shige Kushida, to address a mixed audience at the third Tokyo WCTU great public meeting on 3 November 1887.[38] Furthermore, they were joined by two male speakers: Guido H. F. Verbeck (1830-1898), an RCA missionary, who had once left the mission to work as a "hired foreigner" to assist the Japanese government's modern-nation-building efforts, and Sen Tsuda, a temperance activist also supportive of Methodist missionary efforts in Tokyo (see Document 19). Once the members broke their silence, the Tokyo WCTU successfully furnished itself with its own public organ. With Iwamoto registered as its publisher, the first issue of the Tokyo fujin kyofu zasshi [Tokyo woman's reform magazine] came out in April 1888. Sasaki became one of the editors.[39]

   In breaking the convention that women refrain from speaking in public, Sasaki was able to take much bolder action than American missionary women. While American missionary women such as Youngman, True, and Kelsey were willing to assist Sasaki in encouraging her fellow Tokyo WCTU members to become socially active for their own causes, they were reluctant to challenge openly the convention still upheld by conservative religious leaders, who were influential in their tightly-knit missionary circle in the Tokyo-Yokohama area. As missionary women, they felt obliged to promote ideals of American middle-class Protestant womanhood to Japanese women. This was especially true for Maria True, whose ambition and success became the targets of conservative male criticism (see Document 20). Although True eventually left the mission in 1892 to work independently, supported by a few American women philanthropists, at the time she was compelled to avoid any further conflict with male authorities to secure support for her project from a male-dominated foreign missionary enterprise. In contrast, Sasaki benefited from her understanding husband's support, as well as early-Meiji Japan's enthusiasm for modernization and "civilization." Riding on the rising tide of Westernization in Japan, Sasaki utilized the WCTU's argument to directly challenge gender conventions. To assure the Tokyo WCTU's freedom from and independence of men, Sasaki sought to demonstrate the legitimacy of women speaking in public. In order to persuade fellow Japanese church people, who looked up to the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle as the model of "civilization," Sasaki had to draw an alternative model from that same "civilization."

   This is how Sasaki came to publish her translation of the WCTU article, "Let Your Women Keep Silence in the Churches," which she had completed in October 1887 (see Document 6). This translation, titled Fujin genron no jiyu [Woman's Freedom of Speech], came into print in July 1888. In the booklet's preface, Sasaki argued that the advancement of knowledge allowed the discovery of "the mistaken interpretation" of Biblical teachings to grant women "freedom of speech" (see Document 21). Despite opposition from Japanese clergy and the reluctance of American missionary women and Japanese churchwomen in the Tokyo-Yokohama missionary circle, Sasaki, by following the model demonstrated by Mary C. Leavitt, won independence for the Tokyo WCTU to promote women's activism.

   From a broad viewpoint, American Protestant missionary women and WCTU workers, propelled by their evangelical impulse, were agents of American cultural imperialism and feminist Orientalism. Provided with "ground work" by missionary women who had been working "on the frontier of Christian civilization," Leavitt and other WWCTU workers who followed her endeavored to reform the world to meet the standard of American middle-class churchwomen (see Document 22). Nonetheless, the expansi

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