International Journal of Asian Studies



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THE LIVES AND ROLES OF WOMEN OF VARIOUS CLASSES IN THE IE OF LATE MEDIEVAL JAPAN


Michiko Goto a1
a1 Sogo Joseishi Kenkyukai E-mail michiko-g@k4.dion.ne.jp

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Abstract

In medieval Japan the household became the basic social unit among all classes. In the process, a division of roles also came about: the household head and husband represented the ie to the outside world, while the wife was in charge of its running. The wife's role was highly regarded in the medieval period, but its details have yet to be fully examined. This paper attempts to shed light on how medieval women lived by studying the role of wives and their integral place in ie management. To do this, it is also necessary to examine the relationship between the father's wife and the son's wife, in other words, the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law. I will look at women from various classes, to the extent the documentation allows, utilizing the diaries of the court nobility, literary works and other documentary, graphic and material evidence.

(Published Online June 29 2006)



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