The Female as Subject

Reading and Writing in Early Modern Japan
Volume 70
P. F. Kornicki, Mara Patessio, and G. G. Rowley, Editors
Reveals the rich and lively world of literate women in Japan from 1600 through the early 20th century


The Female as Subject presents 11 essays by an international group of scholars from Europe, Japan, and North America examining what women of different social classes read, what books were produced specifically for women, and the genres in which women themselves chose to write. The authors explore the different types of education women obtained and the levels of literacy they achieved, and they uncover women’s participation in the production of books, magazines, and speeches. The resulting depiction of women as readers and writers is also enhanced by thirty black-and-white illustrations.
For too long, women have been largely absent from accounts of cultural production in early modern Japan. By foregrounding women, the essays in this book enable us to rethink what we know about Japanese society during these centuries. The result is a new history of women as readers, writers, and culturally active agents.
The Female as Subject is essential reading for all students and teachers of Japan during the Edo and Meiji periods. It also provides valuable comparative data for scholars of the history of literacy and the book in East Asia.
P. F. Kornicki is Deputy Warden of Robinson College and Professor of East Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge.
Mara Patessio is Lecturer in Japanese history at the University of Manchester.
G. G. Rowley is Professor at

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Table of Contents:
  • Women, education, and literacy / P. F. Kornicki
  • Tale of Genji: required reading for aristocratic women / G. G. Rowley
  • Illustrated classical texts for women in the Edo period / Joshua S. Mostow
  • The woman reader as symbol: changes in images of the woman reader in Ukiyo-e / Itasaka Noriko
  • In the shadow of men: looking for literate women in biography and prosopography / Anna Beerens
  • A father's advice: confucian cultivation for women in the late eighteenth century / Bettina Gramlich-Oka
  • Nishitani Saku and her mother: "writing" in the lives of Edo period women / Yabuta Yutaka
  • The taming of the strange: Arakida Rei reads and writes stories of the supernatural / Atsuko Sakaki
  • Kishida Toshiko and the career of a public-speaking woman in Meiji Japan / Sugano Noriko
  • Readers and writers: Japanese women and magazines in the late nineteenth century / Mara Patessio
  • Women and literacy from Edo to Meiji / Anne Walthall.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 290pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2010
  • Available
  • 978-1-929280-64-3

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  • $70.00 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2010
  • Available
  • 978-1-929280-65-0

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  • $26.00 U.S.

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