To win one of five copies of Lesley Downer's The Shogun's Queen, just answer the question in the Comments below:
"As a woman, in what period of history would you have most liked to live in Japan and why?"
Then also send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, so that I can contact you if you win.
Closing date 7th December
We are sorry that our competitions are open only to UK Followers.
I think that historical periods when society is changing rapidly would be the most interesting to live in particularly for women as new opportunities arise then. I don't know a lot about Japanese history but imagine that the 1870s, when Japan started to open up to Western influences, must have been a particularly fascinating time. For women there might have been the chance of some formal education and marriage outside the narrow class boundaries that had limited them before.
I think more for me is the level, I would have hated the upper levels where you didn’t get to walk outside and talk to anyone, where you lived in a shut in palace. I would love to have been a wanderer, a person who passes on the news and gathers it in, I would want to walk about and see the whole country. The Bushido way of the samurai, where mostly women were cared for would be good but I am sure the poorer ones didn’t get cared for, and the need for a force to protect the land makes the idea of safe travel a bit suspect. I am not sure what level is high enough to be safer but low enough to travel it would have to be after the start of international trade, for access to new things but before the 1868 end of the Edo reign as Shogun. I would love to know more though.
I was tempted to say I would want to live in the late 1700's where, according to an interesting HG post (Debra Daley 3.10.16), a working woman could earn a good living as a hairdresser.
However, I'm fond of the comforts of modern life and, as Japan has been a hive of innovation, I would prefer to live in the technologically & scientifically interesting period post 1960. It also appears to me, that modern Japan has retained aspects of a highly organised society and I'm always impressed with how efficiently people are mobilised to deal on a practical level with the aftermath of disasters.
I'm currently fascinated with the interwar period and looking at the history of feminism in Japan this would have been an electrifying time for women.
Pitted against a hugely stubborn male-dominated political world, women came together to form an alliance of differing interest groups and boosted the fight for their right to participate and influence.
With the caveat, of course, that I could be in a position to be directly involved with the feminist movement, I'd therefore most like to live in Japan during the interwar period because I thrill at the idea of anyone discovering and developing an interest in politics, then fighting for their right to make changes in their society!
Sarah, I don't seem to have had an email from you. Please send now if you want to claim your prize to email@example.com
Hi Mary, sorry - I've sent you an email now!
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