9. 1850s to 1900s Higo no Mofu and Yajima Kajiko
The students of Yokoi Shonan’s jisshukan are famous for being the first modernizers of Kumamoto. If you go to the small park across from the City Hall you can see their statues surrounded by Bakumatsu colleagues Sakamoto Ryoma, Katsu Kaishu, and Matsudaira Shungaku.
However, you will not see statues of the women who were also highly involved in and influenced by Yokoi Shonan’s thinking. These women collectively are called Higo no Mofu (肥後の猛婦), a term coined by Ooya Soichi (大宅壮一). He originally included only six women (Takezaki Junko 竹崎順子, Yajima Kajiko矢嶋楫子, Kubushiro Ochimi 久布白落身, Kaetsu Takako 嘉悦孝子 founder of Kaetsu Business College現嘉悦大学, Kawaguchi Aiko 川口愛子founder of Koishikawa High School, and Takamure Itsue 高群逸枝 scholar of womens’ history) but the terms has expanded to cover many others today, including Yokoi Tamako (横井玉子founder of Tokyo Joshi Bijutsu University), 。。。
The first three of the original 肥後の猛婦 were part of the Yajima family, a local soshoya (総庄屋) in Mashiki, Kumamoto. This family had one male student of the Jisshukan, with seven sisters who married Jisshukan members. This included Takezaki Junko, wife of Takezaki Sado, Yokoi Chiseko, Shonan’s own wife, and Tokutomi Hisako, wife of Tokutomi Ikkei and mother of Soho and Roka. These women were very important for promoting girls’ education in Kumamoto. The Kumamoto Girls school, begun by Hisako and run by Junko for the first XXX years of its existence became Faith High School, a famed Kumamoto Christian girls’ school until 2013? When it merged with Kaishin High School. Their daughters (Yokoi Miyako 横井みや子and Tokutomi Hatsuko徳富初子, also part of the Higo no Mofu) were students in the Kumamoto Yogakko alongside their brothers. Miyako went on to marry Ebina Danjo and accompany him around the world using her English skills. Hatsuko married Yuasa Jiro from Annaka, Gunma, who was elected one of Japan’s first senators. He turned down the work to go to Doshisha after Niijima Jo passed away in 1890. Hatsuko became one of Japan’s first kindergarten teachers, while raising 11 children of their own. One of these children was Yuasa Hachiro, founder of ICU.
However, one sister, Yajima Kajiko (矢嶋楫子), went on to become not only one of the first accredited teachers in Japan, but also world famous. She headed Joshi Gakuin (女子学院) until she was 74 years old, a school that is still famous today. Moreover, in 1888 she founded the Kyofukai (矯風会), Japan’s first women’s society for the betterment of women, and headed it for XXX years until she retired at the age of 88. They campaigned against all social evils, including alcohol, prostitution and the concubine system, pollution, and later suffrage and smoking.
In 1921, at the age of 89, Kajiko went to the United States to attend the Washington Arms Limitation conference (ワシントン軍縮会議). She presented the US President Harding with a rice paper petition for world peace, signed by 10000 Japanese women in Japanese and English. She was a media sensation, making headlines everywhere she went.
For more information: