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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



This study explores the development of women's tea ceremony from the Edo (1603-1868) to the Meiji period (1868-1912) onward, focusing on its connection to the "good wife, wise mother" ideology in the Meiji period. Many girls' schools, led by Atomi school, adopted the tea ceremony around the time of establishing the “good wife, wise mother.”

During the Edo period, the population of women practitioners increased significantly. This was not limited to just women from samurai families; it extended to commoners as well. The women’s tea ceremony during the Edo period was greatly influenced by Confucianism and its expectations for women. However, when the Meiji period (1868-1912) arrived, Westernization started to have a major impact. This led to a decline in Confucian education and Edo cultural practices, including the tea ceremony. During the mid-Meiji period, the tea ceremony was reevaluated and integrated into girls' education in response to the resistance against Westernization and the surge of nationalism. Alongside the expansion of girls' schools, the practice of the tea ceremony spread throughout the country.

Atomi Kakei, educated in Confucianism during the Edo period, is considered the first educator to have included women’s learnings of the Edo period, such as the tea ceremony, in the school curriculum from its inception. Nevertheless, the presence of inconsistencies in the remaining documents has raised doubts about the introduction of tea ceremony during the early Meiji period. Furthermore, in her autobiography, Oriori-gusa (1915), certain descriptions interweave the early and mid-Meiji periods, suggesting that she adjusted her actions and behaviors to align with the respective times.

This study highlights that the ideology of "good wife, wise mother" played a pivotal role in the spread of the women's tea ceremony. In addition, careful observation of the operation of the Atomi Kakei’s school reveals that the tea ceremony was modernized in a short period of time, in line with the changing policies of the Meiji government.


First Advisor

Amanda C. Seaman

Second Advisor

Reiko Sono