Martial Motherhood in Modern Japan, 1905-1955
MetadataShow full item record
Over the course of forty years, from 1905-1945, Japan's Ministry of Education successfully formed, propagated, and invented the martial mother tradition. The stories compiled in the Ministry of Education's textbooks taught young women not only to encourage their future sons' patriotism but also to enter public spaces themselves and show their own patriotism, or matriotism. Throughout wartime Japan many mothers behaved as stoic, tear-less, child-sacrificing martial mothers in public; however, in private they shared very close and loving relationships with their adult children. While many mothers told their departing soldier sons to "come back dead" in public, the dynamics of their private relationship with their sons were quite different. In the postwar era, though the martial mother ideal vanished from Japan's educational system, the manifesto of the Mothers' Congress of 1955 revealed that martial motherhood was a significant aspect of many mothers' wartime experience.