April 21, 2010
10 photos
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1.15 Pounds (US)
$96.00 USD
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
January 28, 2011
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.9 Pounds (US)
$37.95 USD
v2.1 Reference

Reforming Japan

The Woman's Christian Temperance Union in the Meiji Period

In 1902 members of the Japanese Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) submitted a petition to the National Diet to abolish the custom of rewarding good deeds and patriotic service with the bestowal of sake cups. Alcohol production and consumption, its members argued, harmed individuals, endangered public welfare, and wasted vital resources.

The sake cup petition was only one initiative in a wide-ranging program to reform public and private behaviour in Japan. Between 1886 and 1912, the WCTU launched campaigns to eliminate prostitution, eradicate drinking and smoking, spread Christianity, and improve the lives of women. As Elizabeth Dorn Lublin shows, members did not passively accept and propagate government policy but felt a duty to shape it by defining social problems and influencing opinion. Certain their beliefs and reforms were essential to Japan's advancement, members couched their calls for change in the rhetorical language of national progress. Ultimately, the WCTU's activism belies received notions of women's public involvement and political engagement in Meiji Japan.

This fascinating study of women bound by God, home, and country will appeal to students and scholars of Japanese History, religious studies, and gender studies.


"Reforming Japan is a very fine book. Based on an impressive array of Japanese-language sources, Lublin's work is a major English-language study about the initial quarter-century of the Japanese WCTU and the important role played by its leaders in the attempt to influence both public opinion and government into introducing social reforms that would benefit women and children in the new Japan."—Hamish Ion, author of American Missionaries, Christian Oyatoi, and Japan, 1859-73

"This excellent work of scholarship addresses a sorely neglected aspect of Japanese and feminist history. Reforming Japan is very readable and its arguments are convincing. Lublin has thoroughly mined many Japanese-language primary sources and has constructed a highly sophisticated line of argument. She has succeeded in what the late Mikiso Hane used to call resurrecting the forgotten women's voices. This book will be very well received by Japanese historians. It deserves to be on every scholar's bookshelf."—Louis G. Perez, author of Japan Comes of Age: Mutsu Munemitsu and the Revision of the Unequal Treaties

UBC Press

9780774818162 : reforming-japan-lublin
256 Pages
$96.00 USD
9780774818179 : reforming-japan-lublin
Paperback / softback
264 Pages
$37.95 USD

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