Discuss The Representation Of Women In Japan’s Fir Essay

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Discuss the representation of women in Japan’s First Modern Novel: Ukigumo by Futabatei Shimei Ukigumo was written in between 1887 and 1889 by Futabatei Shimei (1864-1909) during the Meiji Period (1868-1912). The novel was published in three sections and concentrates on four characters: Utusmi Bunzo, the main character, a well educated man but incapable of adapting to change; his cousin Osei, her mother Omasa and Noboru the glib talker. Futabatei played a leading role in the establishment of Japanese modern literature by using a style called gembun itchi (unification of spoken and written language) and Ukigumo was one of the first novels written in this style of colloquial language. Although the book was never finished, it seemed to have strongly influenced other authors during this period such as Tayama Katai, Shimazaki Toson and Takada Shusei, which may be due to Futabatei`s realist style. This led to the emergence of many naturalist novels. To understand Futabatai's representation of women, the effect of the Meiji Restoration on the period must be considered. The Restoration brought the Tokugawa Period to an end and marked a new beginning for Japan. The Meiji leaders embarked on a process of modernisation, and encouraged westernisation as a means to achieve this and as wealth . The rapid transformation of Japanese society following the Meiji Restoration affected all sectors of society. Three changes which especially had an impact on women’s lives were; the abolishment in society of the four division (Shi, No, Ko, Sho), the introduction of an education system and the legislation of family structures. Women's lives during the Edo period were ruled by marriage and politics under the influence of Confucianism. They were expected to dedicate themselves to serving their family. A woman’s first priority was her father, followed by her husband and sons. This

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