Document 21: Toyojyu Sasaki, Preface to the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, Fujin genron no jiyu [Let Your Women Keep Silence in the Churches (Woman's Freedom of Speech)], 1st ed. (Tokyo: Shueisha, 1888), pp. 13-15. Translated by Rumi Yasutake.


   In contrast to Maria True, Toyojyu Sasaki, supported by her understanding husband, and working during the transformational period of Japan's modern nation-building, was able to take much bolder action. In November 1888, Toyojyu Sasaki finally published a Japanese translation of the Union Signal's article, "Let Women Keep Silence in Churches," under the new title Fujin genron no jiyu [Woman's Freedom of Speech]. (See the original English version in Document 6.) In a preface to the Japanese translation, Sasaki wrote that the advancement of women's knowledge helped them discover "the mistaken interpretation" of Biblical teachings that restricted women's public speaking, arguing that their newfound knowledge granted women "freedom of speech."

Japanese-language original

   In Euro-American Christian nations that stood at the center of civilization, there existed an ancient custom that believed Christ prohibited women from speaking in the presence of men. Thus, when a man joined a women's meeting, women stopped their discussion, and needless to say, society came to prohibit women from speaking in public. It is said that this has been based on injunctions found in the New Testament. Recently, however, women's knowledge has progressed greatly, women's work extended widely, and women came to realize that they should be an engine for reforming bad trends and evil customs. At the same time, as women's knowledge progressed, they came to discover that the injunctions in the New Testament refers to different matters and do not recklessly prohibit women from working for society, morality, charity, education, and so on. Here, the mistaken understanding suddenly disappeared as if the ice and snow melted in the spring wind, and the sphere of women's speech was liberated from the long time constraints and is now able to expand freely into heaven and earth. Now it is discovered that women's freedom to carry the torch of Christ, in other words, women's freedom for civilization and speech, has been allowed from the ancient days. This discovery is the virtue of progress in knowledge, and its contribution is not negligible.

   Completed the translation in October, 1888.

Toyojyu Sasaki

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