Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}



CJS Thursday Lecture Series | A Woman’s Network in Japan around 1800

Bettina Gramlich-Oka, Professor of Japanese History, Sophia University, Tokyo
Thursday, February 22, 2018
11:30 AM-1:00 PM
Room 110 Weiser Hall Map
The talk examines the family network of one woman throughout her life that connected families across geographical space and also across status boundaries in Edo Japan (1600–1868). Rai Shizu’s (1760–1843) network centers around families of Confucian scholars in the late Edo period who all shared similar goals. Though administratively a household was a male-centered organization—and we will encounter many fathers, brothers and sons—women in their roles as mothers, daughters, and wives were indispensable for the maintenance and continuation of a household in addition to keeping up relations with other families.

The talk will introduce the Japanese Biographical Database:!/

The records of Rai Shizu—a diary kept for over fifty years and many letters—offer a wealth of materials that make clear her role and position in the family endeavor. We will accompany Shizu in her relations when a young wife and mother in the castle town of Hiroshima. While her husband Shunsui stayed in Edo on duty on and off for almost twelve years, Shizu ran the household, was responsible for her children’s education, and was the important link in the family network. In her mature years, when Shunsui returned and the children were older, the couple’s house continued to be the center of the extended family and students. Even as a widow and of advanced age, Shizu was never able to let go of her household duties or directing the family’s fortune.

Bettina Gramlich-Oka is professor of Japanese history at Sophia University, Tokyo. Her current research interest combines intellectual networks, economic thought, and gender in the late Edo period. Most recent publication is “‘Knowing the [Confucian] Way’ and the Political Sphere.” In "Religion, Culture and the Public Sphere in China and Japan" (Religion and Society in Asia Pacific), ed. Albert Welter, Jeffrey Newmark, pp. 87–114. Palgrave MacMillan, 2017.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Asia, History, Japanese Studies
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Japanese Studies, International Institute, Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS), Asian Languages and Cultures