Yearbook Japan, 2019, vol. 48, pp. 417–436

DOI: 10.24411/0235-8182-2019-10017

Hiratsuka Raichō`s (1886–1971) manifesto “In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun”

E.I. Garaeva

Abstract. The article represents a translation of Hiratsuka Raichō`s (1886–1971) manifesto “In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun”. Hiratsuka Raichō was a pioneering Japanese feminist, who ventured to go against traditions and social norms. She was brought up in a wealthy family, that supported Raichō`s will to get higher education. Hiratsuka Raichō was interested in religion, philosophy and ethics. She constantly sought self-discovery and self-fulfillment, practicing Zen. She also studied English and Chinese classics. Epoch of westernization also made Hiratsuka Raichō a pioneering Japanese feminist. In 1911 she founded Japan’s first all-women literary magazine “Seitō” (“Bluestocking Journal”). This journal was unique because it was the first magazine in Japan that was written and published entirely by women. In the first issue of “Seitō” Hiratsuka Raichō published her manifesto: “In the Beginning, Woman was the Sun”. It was a reference to women and to the spiritual independence which women had lost. She wanted to reject the only conventional role of women as “ryōsai kenbo” (“Good wife and wise mother”). Hiratsuka Raichō`s ideas of spiritual liberations and independence were very close to other Japanese women. Manifesto “In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun” was definitely published for educated women, who sought not to be “good wives and wise mothers” and who were discontented with their lower social status.

Keywords: Hiratsuka Raichō, manifesto “In the Beginning, Woman Was the Sun”‘, “Seitō”, feminism in Japan, “Good wife and wise mother”.

Author: Garaeva Elvira I., master’s student, the Institute of Oriental and Classical Studies of Russian State University for the Humanities. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Contents of the issue: Yearbook Japan, 2019, Vol. 48.