Document 9B: Mary C. Leavitt, "Kain oyobi kanai sho-fudotokuni taisuru fujin no gimu [Woman and Her Work against Overdrinking and Domestic Immoralities]," Part II, Jogaku zasshi 32 (15 August 1886): 21-23. Translated by Rumi Yasutake.


   This document represents the second installment of the translation of Mary Leavitt's speech of 17 July 1886 at a women's only meeting sponsored by Jogaku zasshi. For the first half of the speech, see Document 9A.

[p. 21]

   I would like to ask you ladies who are present today that you do women's duty and that you advise your government to do whatever you think is good and to stop what you find are bad customs. Never be afraid of petitioning the government.

   I have so many things that I would like to talk about today, and will not be able to discuss everything in detail since we are pressed for time. I think our body is important and we need to take good care of it. For that purpose, I recommend that you live where the air is clean. If the air contains bad odor, it will have a bad effect on people who live in it. I would like you to recommend others to live where the air is good. When you stay in clear air and then go into a crowded room, you will not be able to stay in that room for a long time. It will not only defile your body but also harm your health as you breathe. I stayed in a Japanese inn the day before yesterday, but the air circulation of the inn was bad and the screen doors in all four directions were closed, making the circulation even worse. At places such as this, windows should be opened for air circulation. In my country, I live with fresh air, and I could not sleep well when I stayed at this inn. Even when I fell asleep, I woke up in an hour or so. I clapped my hands and tried to have someone open the windows, but nobody came, probably because of the language barrier. I was in trouble. I think none of you should live in such a place, but if any of you ever does, I hope you will be guided to move to an area with clean air.

   Let me talk about kimonos for a while. The kimonos you are wearing are very beautiful, but you will eventually reform them. In case you do, I would like to give you a word of caution so that you will have good reformed clothes. Your clothes are joined together only at the front and can not cover your legs nor your arms [properly]. I recommend that you have the kimonos cover you from the neck to the ankles and the sleeves to be tight. That will be more convenient for you to work in and better for your body and health.

[p. 22]

As for shoes, heels that are lower and wider are better. High and narrow heels will be harmful for your health. Furthermore, unlike Western clothes, Japanese clothes are fastened at the waist, which is also bad to one's health. Western clothes also cover waists, but they are not tightened there as much as yours. . . . It is not proper to fasten your body or to tighten your toes forcefully.

   Also I saw a pregnant woman who had her belly tightly fastened by a string. I think this is quite harmful. It also is not desirable to have one's belly wrapped with a wide obi (belt). I understand that there is a difference between strings for pregnant women and obi. As for the obi, from my point of view, you have too big a portion on your backside. (laughter) I heard from a Japanese doctor that wearing such a large item will keep the heat inside and will cause unexpected health problems. Don't you think that the knot section is quite thick? I recommend that you reform obi.

   Now I will take a short break, and consult with you on a temperance union. If you are interested in it, please come forward and take the front seats.

After the above speech was delivered, some thirty women voluntarily stayed to discuss a Japanese women's temperance union, as reported in our magazine two issues ago.

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