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Meiji maiden: Umeko Tsuda and the founding of higher education for women in Japan

Theresa G McCue, University of Massachusetts Amherst


In 1900, Umeko Tsuda founded the Joshi Eigaku Juku (Women's Institute of Language Studies, which later became Tsuda College), the first private institution of tertiary learning for women in Japan. Tsuda was one of the first females in Japan's history to study in the United States, spending eleven years of her childhood (1871–1882) on a Japanese government-sponsored study program in the United States, and returning in 1889 for three years of study at Bryn Mawr College, another pioneering institution of higher learning for women. Tsuda's establishment of the Joshi Eigaku Juku marked her as a true educational innovator; her success in founding it secured her place in history as a pioneer in the higher education of women in Japan. This dissertation sets out to understand the catalysts found in the social, economic, political, and educational milieus that shaped Tsuda both in Japan and in the United States, and to understand what place Tsuda's experience at Bryn Mawr under M. Carey Thomas held in her development as an educational innovator. Through a comprehensive examination of the social structures, political and economic trends, and educational polices in place during the latter third of the nineteenth century in both nations, this dissertation examines what forces compelled Tsuda to take the revolutionary step of founding her school and establishing higher education as an option for women in Japan, when such an institution was thoroughly unwelcome by the Japanese populace at large.

Subject Area

Education history|Higher education|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

McCue, Theresa G, "Meiji maiden: Umeko Tsuda and the founding of higher education for women in Japan" (2005). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3163687.