Main Article Content
Background: The Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo (1932-1945) set up a specialized curriculum and published textbooks specifically for girls, with the purpose of training girls to become “good wives and wise mothers”. Over the course of the state’s existence, the regime adjusted its curriculum, following the policies and needs of the Japanese Empire. This paper assesses how the government changed the curriculum, focusing on and what kind of female roles they tried to teach to the Chinese girls.
Methodology: This paper compares and analyzes the content and classroom hours of the curriculum of public women’s secondary schools in Manchuria in three periods: 1) 1926-1937, 2) 1938-1941, and 3) 1941-1945. The data of this study was collected from material published by the Fengtian Female Normal School, and the Manchukuo provincial education magazine Fengtian Education.
Results: From the state’s earliest period, Manchukuo education officials emphasized females’ “natural duty” as “Good Wives, Wise Mothers.” Over time, however, they also increasingly emphasized learning the Japanese language, vocational skills, and patriotic content, in order to serve the goals of Japan during the World War II.
Conclusion: Despite the consistent rhetoric which emphasized women becoming mothers, and possibly teachers, the curriculum and contents of the education changed according to the interests of the state and the needs of the war, encouraging women to serve the state by taking up some of the roles that men had played.