Women's Rights and Modernization: An Argument by Fukuzawa Yukichi

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Title: Women's Rights and Modernization: An Argument by Fukuzawa Yukichi
Author: Graepel, Molly
Advisor: Lin, Pauline; Glassman, Hank
Department: Bi-College (Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges). Dept. of East Asian Studies
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: In the Meiji period (1868-1912), Japan went through a time of intense change and modernization. Within this process, Japanese women became a focus of debate and the prominent figure Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835-1901) advocated for women's rights. This thesis seeks to explore why Fukuzawa wanted more equality for women and how he envisioned achieving it. Fukuzawa was a prolific writer and over his lifetime he wrote a series of articles and essays focused on the issue of women's rights: "The Equal Number of Men and Women" (1875), "On Japanese Women, Part I and II" (1885), "On Morality" (1885), "On the Association of Men and Women" (1886), "Fukuzawa Sensei's Random Talks" (1898), "A Critique of The Greater Learning for Women" (1899), and "The New Greater Learning for Women" (1899). Using these texts, I argue that Fukuzawa believed women should be given rights to develop into independent and equipped women that could contribute to the advancement of Japan. This could be achieved through making reforms in three areas: education, responsibilities and freedoms, and marriage.
Subject: Women's rights -- Japan -- History
Subject: Fukuzawa, Yukichi, 1835-1901 -- Views on women
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Graepel, Molly. "Women's Rights and Modernization: An Argument by Fukuzawa Yukichi". 2010. Available electronically from

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