By Noriko Kawamura Ishii
This examine examines one element of yankee women's professionalization and the results of the cross-cultural discussion among American girl missionaries and eastern scholars and supporters at Kobe collage among 1873 and 1909.
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Additional resources for American Women Missionaries at Kobe College, 1873-1909 East Asia: History, Politics, Sociology and Culture
Japan was in the midst of an era of profound social and cultural change after the Meiji Restoration of 1868. The WBMI, fulfilling the request of the ABCFM, assumed the responsibility of Kobe College in 1874, a year prior to its formal beginning in 1875, and, with single women missionaries, made efforts to develop women’s secondary and higher education. ”27 In the end, their effort for women’s secondary education met the Japanese societal needs where, a little more than two decades later, the governmental leaders found women’s secondary education as necessary and issued legislation in 1899 that mandated every prefecture to establish women’s high schools, this despite the fact that only a small minority of Japanese intellectuals appreciated the missionary aspiration for women’s higher education during the Meiji era.
Thus WBMI’s definition of evangelism contrasted sharply to ABCFM’s definition of evangelism, which included persistent prejudice against knowledge and education. For the ABCFM it would require a great deal of struggle to redefine evangelism to accept education. Clark’s assuming the position of the Foreign Secretary of the ABCFM in 1866 provided an impetus for the American Board to acknowledge the need to channel women’s emerging collective power in the foreign mission movement. G. Clark saw the movement as full of promise and supported the Woman’s Boards from the outset.
20 In addition, the separate woman’s boards opened the possibility for increasing numbers of single women to seek a career as foreign missionaries. Although about half of the missionaries sent out by the Board were women before the women’s boards were formed, the majority were missionary wives because the ABCFM was hesitant to send single women missionaries abroad. For the men of ABCFM in the early nineteenth century, bound by the cultural belief that the American 28 AMERICAN WOMEN MISSIONARIES AT KOBE COLLEGE, 1873–1909 Protestant single women had to be protected, sending them to overseas mission work in “heathen” lands was a dreadful idea.
American Women Missionaries at Kobe College, 1873-1909 East Asia: History, Politics, Sociology and Culture by Noriko Kawamura Ishii