The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration / Edition 1

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Overview

In 1862, 51-year-old Matsuo Taseko left her old life behind by traveling to Kyoto, the old imperial capital. Peasant, poet, and local political activist, Taseko had come to Kyoto to support the nativist campaign to restore the Japanese emperor and expel Western "barbarians." Although she played a minor role in the events that led to the Meiji Restoration of 1868, her actions were nonetheless astonishing for a woman of her day. Honored as a hero even before her death, Taseko has since been adopted as a patron saint by rightist nationalists.

In telling Taseko's story, Anne Walthall gives us not just the first full biography in English of a peasant woman of the Tokugawa period...but also fresh perspectives on the practices and intellectual concerns of rural entrepreneurs and their role in the Meiji Restoration. Writing about Taseko with a depth and complexity that has thus far been accorded only to men of that time, Walthall has uncovered a tale that will captivate anyone concerned with women's lives and with Japan's dramatic transition to modernity.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A biography of the poet, mother, silkworm farmer and revolutionary Matsuo Taseko (1811-1894). Walthall (history, U. of California at Irvine) offers the first full biography in English of a peasant woman of the Tokugawa period, providing perspective on the practices and intellectual concerns of rural entrepreneurs and their role in the Meiji Restoration. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226872377
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2008
  • Series: Women in Culture and Society Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 412
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Pt. I Life in the Ina Valley
1 The Making of a Poet 19
2 Taseko's Political Heritage 38
3 Married Life 58
4 The Farm Family Economy 81
5 The Nativist Encounter 100
6 Nativist Texts and the Female Reader 121
Pt. II Kyoto, 1862-1863
7 Autumn in Arashiyama 143
8 A Peasant Woman at the Emperor's Court 165
9 Beheading Statues 183
10 Going Home 203
Pt. III Taseko and the Meiji Restoration
11 On the Sidelines 225
12 Kyoto, 1868 244
13 Famous Friends 261
14 Political Intrigues and Conflicting Visions 284
Pt. IV Taseko in Modern Japan
15 Taseko in Old Age 307
16 Remembering Taseko 329
Epilogue 349
Notes 355
Index 403
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