This excerpt is the third part of a speech given by Kajinosuke Ibuka at the Tokyo WCTU's first great public meeting held on 5 March 1887. The first two parts of the speech are found as Documents 14A and 14B.
I do not remember now the ratio between marriage and divorce, but I assume there will be twenty to thirty divorces for every one hundred marriages or so. Even if there are ten divorces for every one hundred marriages, it should be deplored. As long as there is a custom of so easily putting away a wife, it is impossible to imagine that a woman occupies the rightful status and attains true happiness. As to the question how such an evil custom started in Japan, there must be various reasons. I should say, however, that the Confucian teaching of seven reasons for divorce is the one big cause.
[p. 186]Anyway, laws and Shintoism care even less about this issue. Therefore, we need to borrow the power of Christianity to cleanse this evil custom.
The third is the teaching of male and female equality. As the previous speaker mentioned, as a result of practicing Confucianism and Buddhism, there was the custom of esteeming men and despising women. Christianity, however, teaches that men and women are created completely equal before God. It is not only in Japan. In every country where Christianity is not practiced, there is not a country that does not have the custom of esteeming men and despising women. Hearing about women in Turkey and India, there many things we can not but feel sorry for. Fortunately, our country is less so, but yet we are not exempted from the custom of esteeming men and despising women. It is Christianity that would correct such an imbalance, since women are not considered lesser than men but are completely equal to men in Christian teachings. If women are sinners to God, men are, too. If men should be blessed with God's grace, women should be, too. Thus, it is written in the New Testament that among Christians, "There is neither . . . slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians :28). Anyway, it is taught also in Christianity that men and women were naturally different in their nature and thus their work and responsibility are different, but in the teaching, there is no discrimination in their dignity. Let me give you other examples. Christianity promotes women's education, encourages women to work for society, and values women's peculiar virtues of gentility and humility. There are a variety of other reasons why Christianity advances women's status and brings true happiness to them. Needless to raise detailed examples, three teachings of Christianity, namely monogamy, sacred marriage, and male-female equality, make it obvious that Christianity is the force to reform society and woman's good companion. . .
About one thousand eight hundred and eighty years ago, when the Virgin Mary knew that she became the mother of the Savior, she said in praise of God, "My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He looked down on the lowliness of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed." I think this is the triumphal song in which Maria, in spite of herself as the representative of women in the world, thanked God for the time when women, who had been oppressed and bounded by various constraints for several thousand years, would from then on receive genuine happiness forever. Thus, at the time when Christianity is being practiced in our country from now on,
[p. 187]I hope that Japanese ladies, along with Maria, sing this triumphant song, ["]My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed," and strive for God and our nation. This is what I expect from you, WCTU members.