Derived from an idealized traditional role for women, the ideology of Good Wife, Wise Mother or Wise Wife, Good Mother, (Japanese: 良妻賢母 ryōsai kenbo, Chinese: 賢妻良母/賢母良妻 xián qī liáng mù/xián mù liáng qī was coined by Nakamura Masanao in 1875.[1]

It represented the ideal for womanhood in the East Asian area like Japan, China and Korea in the late 1880s and early 1900s and maybe still so nowadays. Women were expected to master such domestic skills as sewing and cooking as well as develop the moral and intellectual skills to raise strong, intelligent sons and daughters for the sake of the nation.

Childbearing was considered a "patriotic duty", and although in Japan this philosophy declined after World War II, feminist historians have argued it existed in Japan even as recently as the 1980s.[2]

The view was also possibly shared by Chinese traditional views at the time, like Lu Xun quoting the traditional view in Grave (墳, included in the compilation's first book, ISBN 7020015247):In female education, the most popular at that time is always the cry of the philosophy of Wise mother, good wife.(“在女子教育,则那时候最时行,常常听到嚷着的,是贤母良妻主义。”) and Zhu Ziqing's Wife of the landlord (房東太太): She is a traditional wise wife, good mother; One can see the old taste of China. (“道地的贤妻良母,她是;这里可以看见中国那老味儿。”).


  1. See Sharon Sievers, Flowers in Salt: The Beginnings of a Feminist Consciousness in Modern Japan, 1983, 22.

Further reading

See also


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