Ryosai kenbo good wife wise mother

Ryosai kenbo good wife wise mother

Have you heard of Ryosai Kenbo? In modern times, women have created their space more and more. Increasingly having opportunities and equal treatment to men in any type of environment. But to see the great future, sometimes we need to look back.

Ryosai kenbo is a short phrase that was created by a Japanese scholar in the 19th century. We can say that this little sentence had and still has great impacts on society. Even because it defines a certain idealized and limited space for women.

But calm down, let’s explain it a little better on this subject. But we have to remember that we cannot affirm or argue, let alone judge things from the past. After all, what we see today as wrong, in the past could be seen as right. Let’s get down to business.


This short sentence can be represented by another one with only four words in English. “Good Wife, Wise Mother” or “Wise Wife, Good Mother”. This term was coined by Professor Nakamura Masanao in 1875.

Ryosai Kenbo represented the ideal for femininity in the East Asia area. Especially in countries like Japan, China and Korea in the late 1800s and early 1900s. And even today, its effects continue on society, or some part of it.

During this period, women were expected to master domestic skills such as sewing and cooking. In addition to having to develop moral and intellectual skills. All with the aim of raising strong and intelligent children for the nation.

As can already be deduced, child rearing was considered a “patriotic duty“. Yes, we can say that women were in charge of the “future of the nation”. We can even say that they had a very important duty on their backs. But let’s put patriotism aside.

In Japan, this philosophy apparently declined after World War II. However, some feminist historians have argued that it existed in Japan even in the 1980s. Speculations aside, let’s discuss the more regional effects of philosophy.


The phrase “good wife, wise mother” appeared at the end of the Meiji period at the end of the 19th century. An important thing to note is that during World War II, we had some changes in teaching and thinking.

For example, Ryosai Kenbo was taught to promote conservative, nationalist and militaristic state policies. In addition to trying to help a developing capitalist economy. Among other details not mentioned here.

From the end of the 1890s until the end of Second World War we had another historic milestone. Ryosai Kenbo has become increasingly prevalent in the mass media.

In addition to gaining increasing space at the highest levels of public and private women’s schools. Just to provide a basis for seeing growth, we will highlight two points.

In the 1890s, “good wife and wise mother” was taught only at the highest levels of education. Which were where the elite of the upper class girls attended.

It was soon introduced into the primary school curriculum. This happened when the 1911 revision of ethics textbooks was published.

It may only be 20 years old, but it has affected entire generations of women. Let’s say that the effects must not have disappeared until today. Of course it has been reduced, but nothing that completely erases.

Did you know that women in Japan tend to take care of family finances?


Women were taught to fulfill this role because of nationalism. The Empire wanted to prevent the western invasion. At that time, Western countries were making improvements to women’s social rights.

Like suffrage, Japan was just beginning to confront women’s movements. Thus, Japan tried to establish the role of women and control new social movements. And for that, he had to resort to means through regularized education and banning social and political rights.

But as I said earlier, we cannot discuss, let alone judge, decisions and deeds of the past. Especially things that happened centuries ago. The past is gone, all we can do is in the present.

We can only judge things that are within our reach. Of course, this is not an absolute thing, but it is what usually happens. Ryosai Kenbo was a widespread philosophy, and even today it has its effects.

But anyway, what do you think of this philosophy? If you have any questions, suggestions or anything like that about ryosai kenbo, just leave your comments. In addition, I ask you to share the site there on social networks, it helps a lot. In addition, thanks for reading this far, until the next article.

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