Honorable Women in Tokugawa Society

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Eric Godfrey
3/20/13
Honorable Women

Tokugawa era Japan was a very different period than those before it, instead of proving loyalty and honor on the battlefield it was drawn from more diplomatic situations. The Tokugawa period brought with it an era of lasting peace for nearly 250 years, and with it came different ways in which to occupy ones self. Many things in society changed including, the warring ways of the samurai where honor was drawn from the strength and skill turned into peaceful times when martial skill was practiced to maintain. However, besides the peaceful times many things remained the same about the Japanese social structure. Men and women still were very aware of honorable behavior, which held the basis for social culture. Although some similarities between the two were apparent, the more interesting seem to be the ways in which women were observed to display honorable behavior. The seemingly confined life of a women was very basic yet very strict in conduct. While men presented the strength of the household outside women held up the integrity of the house from within. Perhaps one of the more interesting ways in which women display honorable behavior is the way they bring up their daughters. Women had strict duties around the household, these duties included cooking food, cleaning and caring for the house its guests and most importantly the family. To raise a daughter with the ability to take care of all the duties of the household was a strong sense of honor for the women’s family. “Bushi women, however, had no such custom. Most having been raised to devote themselves singlemindedly to the duties of a housewife, had no hobbies or pastimes.”(Women of Mito Domain, 142) Women’s focus was on the family and a submissive existence to serve, however possible the betterment of the family. With the responsibility of the house and family at a women’s highest duty, her main focus is to serve as best possible. Another aspect that was considered to...
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