Study Abroad and the Transnational Experience of Japanese Women from 1860s–1920s: Four Stages of Female Study Abroad, Sumi Miyakawa and Tano Jōdai

Keiko Sasaki, Yuri Uchiyama, Sayaka Nakagomi


This article aims to analyse the study abroad and transnational experiences of Japanese women between the 1860s and the 1920s. First, this article analyses the tendencies, periods, agents (both government-funded and privately-funded), aims and subjects studied in female study abroad in the four stages during this period from school history materials of individual institutions which supported female study abroad. In its later stages, female study abroad tended to strengthen the function of raising leaders of girls’ and women’s education, while in its early stages it tended to introduce a variety of Western culture and academic knowledge. Second, the article focuses on the forms of government- and privately-funded study abroad for women by tracing the study-abroad experience of two women educators in the early 20th century. Within government-funded study abroad, academic disciplines studied and students’ experiences were controlled by the government and focused on building a national female educational system. However, privately-funded study abroad possessed wider aims. It allowed female students to study various academic disciplines and introduced new international trends for promoting women’s social participation. Most female students who experienced study abroad became pioneers of female education and/or social activities in Japan as a result of their transnational experiences.


study abroad; transnational experience; girls’ and women’s education in Japan; female educator

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