Daily Archives: 24 February 2004

The Legal Status of the Japanese Wife, 1915

According to “The New Japanese Civil Code” by Professor N. Hozumi, the present Civil Code proceeds upon the equality of the sexes, and makes no distinction between men and women in their enjoyment of private life so long as a woman remains single. She may become the head of a house and exercise authority as such. She may exercise parental authority over her child if her husband is dead. She may adopt children either alone, when she is single or a widow, or in conjuction with her husband when married. She may make any contract or acquire or dispose of any property in her own name, provided she remains single.

When she marries, however, she enters the class technically called “incapacitated persons” treated of in Section 2 or Chapter I of the Civil Code. Under this section are four classes–minors, incompetent persons, quasi-incompetent persons and wives, or more explicitly, as it is explained under the “meaning of capacity,” “such persons as minors, wives, lunatics, and spendthrifts do not possess complete capacity.” A touch of nature makes the whole world kin! The next paragraph is still more illuminating.

Under the heading “Reasons for protecting incompetent persons,” we find, “minors are protected because of the insufficient development of their intelligence; incapacitated persons are protected because they are, like lunatics and idiots, intellectually deformed; and quasi-incompetent persons are protected because they are either physically deformed or intellectually imperfect, like the blind, the deaf, the dumb, and spendthrifts; while wives being bound to follow their husbands, the rights of the latter are protected in order to maintain the peace of the household.”

SOURCE: “The Legal Status of the Japanese Wife,” by A. Caroline Macdonald, in The Christian Movement in the Japanese Empire, including Korea and Formosa, a Year Book for 1915 (Conference of Federated Missions, Japan, 1915), pp. 324-325.

In sharp contrast are the presuffrage wives of the Southern Baptist Convention missionaries listed on p. 611 of the same work, all of whom appear either to be named Wanda, Wendy, Wilhemina, Wilma, Winifred, and the like–or else not to be worth naming:

Bouldin, Rev. G. W. & W., Tokyo

Clarke, Rev. W. H. & W., (A)

Dozier, Rev. C. K. & W., Fukuoka

Medling, Rev. P. P. & W., (A)

Mills, Mr. E. O. & W., Fukuoka

Ray, Rev. J. F. & W., Shimonoseki

Rowe, Rev. J. H. & W., Nagasaki

Walne, Rev. E. N., D.D. & W., Tokyo

Willingham, Rev. C. T. & W., Kokura

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The Omi Mission in Japan, 1915

February 1915, the tenth anniversary of the arrival in Hachiman of Mr. W. M. Vories, marked the beginning of the second decade of the Omi Mission.

The distinctive features of this Mission consist in its being financially self-supporting; undenominational–advocating and practising co-operation in all Christian efforts; administered entirely on the field; international–having voluntary supporters in America, Europe, and Japan, and both American and Japanese workers on equal terms, the general secretary this year being Japanese; rural from choice and conviction; aimed at the establishment of a model Kingdom of God, rather than at individual conversions alone; many-sided in its approach–preaching, Sunday Schools, railway and Student Y.M.C.A., with hostels, farm, motor cruiser (Galilee Maru) on Lake Biwa, physical work in the embryo antituberculosis camp, two monthly publications, newspaper evangelism, loan library of evangelistic books, many types of women’s work, and architectural office–for support and for training self-supporting mission workers; and finally, in its compromising a practical Laboratory of Mission Methods, where new lines of evangelistic and institutional effort are being tried out–and the results open to any mission in the Orient.

Beginning without resources and with only one green young worker in 1905, the Mission numbered in 1914 thirty workers, eight of whom were Americans.

The first ten years were marked by the complete alteration of the attitude of the community, from that of open and violent opposition and persecution to open and cordial favour; the building up of a staff of native workers–which is the hope of any mission enterprise; and the crystalization of aims and methods adapted to peculiar conditions, after experimentation.

The direct achievements, though sounding well in report, are, we trust, merely suggestions of real harvesting in the next decade.

SOURCE: “The Omi Mission,” by W. M. Vories, in The Christian Movement in the Japanese Empire, including Korea and Formosa, a Year Book for 1915 (Conference of Federated Missions, Japan, 1915), pp. 136-137.

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