Document 8B: Mary C. Leavitt, "Nihon no shimai ni tsugu [A Message for My Japanese Sisters]," Part II, Jogaku zasshi 36 (5 October 1886): 131-32. Translated by Rumi Yasutake and Kazuhiro Oharazeki.

Japanese-language original

[p. 131]

   Gentlemen always say that if women receive higher education, they will lose virtues unique to women. However, this opinion is inconsistent with the reality. At colleges and professional schools that permit women to enter, quite a few women students gain considerable honor and receive awards for excellence. People also say that women who study for a long period will ruin their health. Neither is it consistent with the reality. Healthy college students are more likely to be women than men. A graduating female college student recently told me: "Girls study harder than boys do and are less likely to get ill because we don't waste time and energy as men do. We get exercise in fresh air during the day, later study for a good amount of time in our rooms, then go to bedrooms, have a good sleep, and wake up well in the morning. Since we had regularly spent days like this, we could study in good health." So "these female students do not drink any kind of alcohol." "Do they smoke?" "Never," she continued, and it is well proven in her statement, "one of the female students defines a cigarette this way. 'A cigarette is a small roll

[p. 132]

of tobacco that has a fire on one end and a fool on the other.'" I strongly agree with this critical comment; at the same time, I would bother to ask: "Are Japanese ladies' lips often disgraced by cigarettes?"

   If women receive all levels of education and fully develop their minds, they will be able to choose from a variety of occupations, from teaching that requires wide knowledge to trades that deal with various other kinds of things. In the United States and Britain, for example, several hundred female doctors are well received, and they have shown remarkable aptitude for dealing with bedridden women and children. I think it is ideal that female doctors try to treat women only. Moreover, in the United States, over twenty women are working in the courts as attorneys and dealing with a variety of legal affairs. The reason why no women have been appointed judge is not because they cannot perform the duties, but just because the law does not allow women to serve as judges. In the territories where women can sit on a jury, including Wyoming and Washington D.C., for example, women are demonstrating their legal abilities. In fact, I have heard that local judges, court officials, and many residents praise the abilities of these female jury members to fulfill their duties. Added to this, a California judge told me that he always consulted his wife before giving judgments on difficult cases, and that she not only knew the law well but also had a keen sense of what is right and what is wrong. He is one of the distinguished judges in the state; therefore, I don't doubt that women will be excellent judges. [To be continued]

back to top