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Women Music Educators in Japan during the Meiji Period

Sondra Wieland Howe
Bulletin of the Council for Research in Music Education
No. 119, The 14th International Society for Music Education: ISME Research Seminar (Winter, 1993/1994), pp. 101-109
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40318618
Page Count: 9
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Women Music Educators in Japan during the Meiji Period
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Abstract

What was the role of women in the development of Japanese music education in the Meiji period? Who were the Japanese women who taught Western music in Japan and how were they trained? This paper will explore these questions, using sources in the English language. The literature on the development of music education in Japan has emphasized the male leadership of Izawa Shuji, Luther Whiting Mason, court musicians, and the Music Study Committee. An accurate account of the history of Japanese music education must also include the role of female educators. The education of women was part of the plan of the Japanese government from the beginning of the Meiji period. Women attended normal schools to train for teaching careers. Five girls were sent on the Iwakura Mission to learn about Western education. Women studied both traditional and Western music. Luther Whiting Mason was able to introduce Western music to Japan because he had capable female and male assistants to translate and help him teach. The Empress was a patron of female education and women music educators were active in Tokyo schools. Japanese students studied in America and Europe during the Meiji period. Many of the women who studied abroad made contributions to the development of Western music in Japan.

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