Digital Japanese History

絵本水や空、耳鳥斎 画、3冊 (合1冊) ; 23cm、平安、八文字屋八左衛門、安永9 [1780]、、出典:国立国会図書館「NDLイメージバンク」 (

As has been discussed, women’s education differed in the buke and the commoner classes. The former was educated privately, while the latter was educated at mass in institutions such as terakoya and village schools. One of the commonalities of women’s education for both classes is that they mainly learned morality based on Neo-Confucian teaching, which idealizes male supremacy. However, the influence of such teaching was stronger among buke women than commoner women. For instance, among the Mito domain people, highly intelligent women were not welcomed since it was assumed that they will not contribute to the succession of their family bloodline as expected. Commoner women, on the other hand, had less restrictions on their educational opportunities on account of the rise of female masters at terakoya. One possible answer to the different degree of equal education between buke and commoner women is social hierarchy. The buke class was regarded as the ruling class, which had a more formalistic viewpoint than subordinate classes, such as the commoner class. Hence, buke women were more strongly influenced by the idea of male supremacy than commoner women. This exhibit discussed buke women’s education in a micro viewpoint and commoner women’s education from a macro perspective. Hence, further evidence is required to accurately compare the educations of buke and commoner women.




Kito Takayoshi 鬼頭孝佳. “Matsudaira Sadanobu no jendā-kan” 松平定信のジェンダー観. Tagen bunka 多元文化 11 (2011), 79–90.

Gakusei Hyakunen-shi Henshū Iinkai 学制百年史編集委員会. “Gakusei Hyakunen-shi“ 学制百年史. The Ministry of Educations, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan, 1972. Retrieved July 31, 2020 from

Gramlich-Oka, Bettina. “A Father’s Advice: Confucian Cultivation for Women in the Late Eighteenth Century.” In The Female as Subject: Reading and Writing in Early Modern Japan, ed. Peter F. Kornicki, 123–40. University of Michigan Press, 2016. 

Kornicki, Peter. “Women, Education, and Literacy”. In The Female as Subject: Reading and Writing in Early Modern Japan, ed. Peter Kornicki, Gaye G. Rowley and Mara Patessio, 7–38. The Michigan University, 2005.

Sugano Noriko 菅野則子. “Terakoya to onna shisho: Edo kara Meiji e” 寺子屋と女師匠:江戸から明治へ. The Hitotsubashi Review一橋論叢 111:2 (February 1994),240–256.

Tadano Makuzu 只野真屑, Goodwin, Janet R., Gramlich-Oka, Bettina., Leicester, Elizabeth A., Terazawa Yuki 寺澤友貴 and Walthall, Anne. “Solitary Thoughts: A Translation of Tadano Makuzu’s Hitori Kangae (2)”. Monumenta Nipponica, 56:2 (2001), 173–195.

Tsunemi Ikuo 常見育夫. “Edo jidai no shakai to katei narabi ni josei-kan to joshi kyōiku” 江戸時代の社会と家庭並に女性観と女子教育. Kaji to Eisei 家事と衛生18:8 (1942), 55–64.

Tocco, Martha. “Made in Japan: Meiji Women’s Education.” In Gendering Modern Japanese History, ed. Barbara Molony and Kathleen Uno, 1–39. Harvard University Press, 2005.

Yamakawa Kikue 山川菊栄. Women of the Mito Domain: recollection of samurai family life. Stanford University Press, 2015.