Document 8C: Mary C. Leavitt, "Nihon no shimai ni tsugu [A Message for My Japanese Sisters]," Part III, Jogaku zasshi 36 (25 October 1886): 171-72. Translated by Rumi Yasutake and Kazuhiro Oharazeki.

Japanese-language original

[p. 171]

   Then, is it all right for a woman to speak in public? I don't think that it is worth arguing about whether it is right or not according to the Bible. Instead, here I am going to state briefly what I believe is right. If you interpret the Bible properly, it is clear that it is not an injunction that prohibits women from speaking in public. However, since [prohibiting women from speaking in public] is the interpretation that anyone can understand easily, there are indeed quite a few people who interpret the Bible this way today. Needless to say in my country, when women speak on the podium or preach from the pulpit, some people call their conduct "improper" or "unfeminine." These people, however, take pleasure in looking at singing ladies with bare arms and shoulders (some ladies are even unclothed on their necks and shoulders) in an opera house. They neither blame these ladies for behaving inappropriately nor find their appearance unfeminine. Indeed, if women are frowned upon for appearing in public, it is not when women flatter men; rather, it is when women dress themselves properly and express just opinions for their love for God and families, in accordance with their ideas and knowledge that they have acquired and with their concerns about harmful influences of evil deeds, customs, and laws on the human race.

[p. 172]

   Therefore, even if we are criticized for ignoring the roles assigned to women, we speak in public because we want to raise our voices to reflect the glory of God, protect our families, and improve the status of mankind.

   However, the mist has cleared away, and the sun is coming out. It seems that our young sisters in Japan wish that there will be many works that they can undertake. These sisters should believe in God, trust Him, and undertake the works within their power decisively wherever they can. Rather than attempting to have numerous discussions in hope of doing so, it will probably be much more desirable that women set precedents by acting them out.

   Dear editor, I would like to write a more complete essay for your company, but my time is so limited that I scribbled in haste what I thought, and handed it to you. . .

[Mary] Leavitt

   With the notes at the end, the above essay was delivered on July 5. Because our past issues lacked space, we finally complete publishing the entire essay in this issue. The first part appeared in no. 36, and the second part, in no. 37.[A]


A. This final paragraph was added by Jogaku zasshi staff, most probably Yoshiharu Iwamoto.
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