Christianity and the Modern Woman in East Asia


This edited volume explores the complex roles that Christian ideas and institutions played in the construction of modern womanhood in East Asia. While contributing to gender dynamics that disprivileged women in China, Japan, and Korea, Christianity was also instrumental in women’s efforts to empower themselves and participate in the public sphere. Many literate East Asian women mobilized Christian beliefs, knowledge, institutions, and networks to raise the profile of “The Woman Question,” frame the contours of the related debate, and craft original responses. These chapters examine East Asian women who were markedly influenced by Christianity as students, trainees, educators, professionals, and activists. Using their increased visibility and resources, they addressed the dilemmas and promises of modernity for women in their countries.

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Garrett L. Washington, Ph.D. (2010), Purdue University, is Assistant Professor of History at The University of Massachusetts Amherst. His representative publications include “Preaching Modern Japan: National Imaginaries and Protestant Sermons in Meiji and Taishō Tokyo,” in David Yoo and Albert Park, eds., Encountering Modernity: Christianity in East Asia and Asian America (University of Hawaii Press, 2014).

Editor’s Introduction

1 Christianity, Modernity, and Women Physicians in China: The Southern Methodist Commitment to Medical Education for Chinese Women in Suzhou, 1891–1918
Connie Shemo

2 Chinese Christian New Women’s Practicality, Social Service, and Broad Cooperation: A Case Study of YWCA Women in the 1920s and 1930s
Aihua Zhang

3 “Saving the Children”: Catholic Sisters and Social Reform in Republican China
Anthony Clark

4 New Women Before the “New Woman”: Sasaki Toyoju and Sasaki Nobuko in Meiji Japan
Rui Kohiyama

5 The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, Monogamy, and Defining “Modern” for Women and Japan
Elizabeth D. Lublin

6 Christianity and “True Education”: Yasui Tetsu’s Contribution to Women’s Education in Imperial Japan
Garrett L. Washington

7 Esther Park, Obedient Rebel: Subjectivity, Submissiveness, and Korean Christian Women in Korea’s Early Modern Period
Haeseong Park

8 Revisiting the Mission Subject: The First Protestant Women and Photography in Korea between 1880 and 1910
Heejeong Sohn

9 Christian New Women of Modern Korea: Inheritors of the Bible Women’s Legacy
Lee-Ellen Strawn
Specialists and laypersons interested in the histories of gender and religion in modern East Asia, Asian Studies and Women’s Studies more broadly, and the relationships between religion and modern womanhood.
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