Title

Critiquing Concubinage: Sumiya Koume and Changing Gender Roles in Modern Japan

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-15-2017

Publication Title

Japanese Studies

Abstract

In 1893, Sumiya Koume (1850–1920) wrote an essay for the prominent women’s journal Jogaku zasshi(Women’s Education Magazine) entitled ‘I Recommend Against Becoming a Geisha or Concubine’. In it, she critiqued both roles and exhorted women who were serving as geisha not to become concubines. She did not mention that she herself had worked as both a geisha and a concubine (tekake or mekake). By the time she wrote her essay, she had also served as a political activist as well as a social reformer and missionary. Sumiya’s life sheds light on the transitional nature of the early Meiji era, specifically the period of flux between the formal abolition of concubinage in 1882 and the advent of the state-sponsored ‘good wife, wise mother’ (ryōsai kenbo) paradigm in 1899.

Volume

37

Issue

3

First Page

311

Last Page

329

DOI

doi.org/10.1080/10371397.2017.1394781

Rights

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Japanese Studies on 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi.org/10.1080/10371397.2017.1394781.”

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