From RyŌsai-Kenbo to Nadeshiko

Women and sports in Japan

Authored by: Keiko Ikeda

Routledge Handbook of Sport, Gender and Sexuality

Print publication date:  February  2014
Online publication date:  March  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415522533
eBook ISBN: 9780203121375
Adobe ISBN: 9781136326967


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For a long time participation in sports was considered unseemly for women in Japan. Change came after Japanese modern education was initiated by the Education Order of 1872. Secondary education for women was created with the Imperial Rescript on Education that was issued in 1899. Particularly relevant, however, was that the initial stage of secondary education for women in the late nineteenth century was influenced by educational principles based on the ideal of womanhood, ryōsai-kembo. This ideal was linked with the ideology of imperial nation-building through separating affairs of the home from other social disciplines understood as “women’s territory” (Koyama 1999, pp.20–27; Muta 2000, pp.36–40).

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