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Featured labor-related item: “Fujin mondai ni tsuite”

In conjunction with the exhibition, “For Liberty, Justice, and Equality: Unions Making History in America,” we will be featuring labor-related materials from the Prange Collection. The exhibit, which draws upon materials from the labor collections in Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland, will be on display in the Maryland Room Gallery on the 1st Floor of Hornbake Library North through July 2018.

March is Women’s History Month.  Today, we’re featuring Fujin mondai ni tsuite/婦人問題について [About women’s issues] by Yamakawa Kikue/山川菊榮 (Prange Call No. HD-0674).

The Chiba Prefecture Labor and Labor Education Department/千葉縣勞政課勞働敎育係 published this short pamphlet in 1948.  It was the first issue in the Chiba-ken Rodo Kyoiku Pamphlet/千葉縣勞働敎育パンフレット series.  It contains a lecture by Yamakawa,  Head of the Women and Minors Bureau of the Ministry of Labor, which she gave in 1947.  In the talk, she addressed issues that affected women and offered practical advice.  For example, on page 5, she regretfully stated that it was to some degree each person’s fault that Japan was in such a miserable state, saying:

日本が今のようなみじめな状態に陥つたのは、全く國民のひとりひとりが自主的に行動する能力がなかつたためなのです

Then, she claimed that it was women’s responsibility to recover from the current situation by unifying and by working together for better working conditions.

婦人は政治の動き、社會の進む方向をよく注意し、よく理解して選擧權を行使し議員を監視しなければなりません….. 婦人は婦人の地位の向上のため、勞働條件の改善のため、組織の力をもち、政黨や勞働組合や婦人團體を通じて活動しなければなりません

In addition, when asked about the different culture and responsibilities between working women and women staying at home, she answered:

勞働婦人の文化としては家庭勞働の合理化が第一…..それにより得た暇を知識向上のために利用し文化の向上に努めることば必要…..家庭婦人と勞働婦人とは別々の人種ではなく、同じ人なのですから、その生活の文化の面での必要は共通のものと考えます

“Fujin mondai ni tsuite” has been digitized and is available onsite in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library and onsite at the National Diet Library of Japan (NDL) through NDL’s Digital Collection.

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