Daughter, Teacher, Good Wife, Wise Mother, and Spy
This chapter examines the transculturation of Japan and the margins of the Asiatic continent by focusing on female educator Kawahara Misako's life. Kawahara is known for her pioneering work in establishing a modern educational system for the women of Mongolia. Her good standing with the Harqin court of Mongolia during the Russo-Japanese War aided the Japanese military in the region, and she was recognized as a patriotic spy who put herself in danger in the service of her country. This chapter begins by situating Kawahara in the sociohistorical landscape of the mid-Meiji period, with particular emphasis on the conceptual idioms of “good wife, wise mother” and “New Woman.” It then considers Kawahara's various endeavors in China and Mongolia, focusing on her contributions to female education and her espionage on Japan's behalf. It also discusses the discrepancy between the public perception and the private life of Kawahara, along with the implications of the role she played in defining womanhood at the turn of the twentieth century in East Asia.
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