水曜日は、Heroes and Giants
During the Meiji period, the Japanese government sent some people overseas to study western culture.
As a part of this project, five young girls went to study in America in 1871.
“This girl is so young.
Are you sure she can go?”
said a staff member on this trip about Tsuda Umeko.
At the time, she was only six years old.
Later, Umeko worked hard to improve the lives of women in Japan.
She created a well-respected school for women, now known as Tsuda University.
After living in America for 11 years, Umeko came back to Japan in 1882.
Living in Japan was difficult at first.
Because she had forgotten almost all her Japanese.
But the lifestyle of women in Japan was a bigger problem for her.
Girls in Japan went to school to become good wives and mothers, America was different.
Most women in Japan did not have jobs back in those days and they got married at a young age.
Umeko’s parents wanted her to marry.
So they made her meet many men.
But in the end, she chose not to marry.
She wanted to work to help improve the lives of women in Japan.
“Women in Japan think that they are less important than men.
They are not thinking about changing society.”
Umeko wanted to teach women that they could be important in both society and at home.
She felt that the first step was to help women understand that they were just as important as men.
To do this, she thought they had to get a good education.
At that time, Umeko was working as an English teacher.
But she hoped to do more so she went to America to study again.
She thought about living in America for the rest of her life.
But she decided to come back.
Because she wanted very much to help the women in Japan.
In Japan, she made speeches about the importance of woman’s education and wrote several papers.
In 1900, she opens the women’s institute of English studies, a school that offered western-style education.
But the school did not always have money.
Umeko got other teaching jobs to support the school.
Also, her friends in both America and in Japan helped her.
Because of her hard work, the government made her school one of the first official colleges for women in 1903.
Later, the school changes its name to Tsuda university.
Umeko continued to work hard for women’s education until she died in 1929 at the age of 64.
In Umeko’s days, women have very little power in society.
But Umeko worked actively to change women’s lives.
Even today, people still remember how hard she worked.
And many young women want to learn at the school she created.