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Press translations [Japan]. Political Series 0131, 1945-12-30.
Supreme Commander for The Allied Powers. Allied Translator and Interpreter Section.

translation-number: political-0568

call-number: DS801 .S85

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No 568 Date: 30 Dec 45


ITEM 1 Political Education for Women - Provincial Newspaper, Chugoku Shimbun (HIROSHIMA) - 19 Dec 45. Translator: T. Kitayama.
"Women and suffrage" have been words unheard and forgotten for a long time by the public at large. The people might have been forced to forget these words, but the truth is that until the evil of the war, it had been regarded as reasonable enough that women should not be given political rights. Now quite suddenly suffrage has been given to women, and they are to participate in politicial activity. This franchise has not been given them in accordance with public opinion. The women themselves, who have not had this right before are completely purplexed, and are quite at a loss to know what to do with it. This is not the thing they have been hoping for, but a thing simply given them, and now they must do something with it. Moreover the general election is near, it will be carried out in Janaury or February 1946, and they must each cast an honest vote. Women must be conscious of their own situation as soon as possible, and faithfully discharge their duty. They must do their utmost toward the regeneration of the country. Here is an interview with women in various spheres of social activity and let us observe their opinions on the problem of woman suffrage.
Question: The feudalistic family system of JAPAN has long fettered women to domestic services and their right to free speech has been greatly restrained. Unexpectedly, however, as a result of the defeat, women have been given the franchise. Indeed, this is a surprise to women, whom, I presume, are perfectly at a loss as to whether to rejoice or be sad. Accordingly, we should like to hear your thoughts and feelings about the problem.
Answer: 1, NOBUKIYO, Kiyo, clerk, aged 38: In the confusion after the termination of the war, I had no time to spare for speculation or for matters outside my work. Moreover, from the viewpoint of our customs and system in the past, I feel that woman are notable to competently consider the election. Though it is a matter for congratulation that the franchise has been given women, yet women at present stand at a disadvantage in acquiring a knowledge of politics. It is doubtful whether they can judge fairly the characters and political views of candidates.
2. SHIMAMOTO, Masue, Wife of a former member of the KURA Assembly: In these days, I think it is not unreasonable that women take no interesting or responsibility for, the suffrage they have been given. Even if they may use the privilege lack of political knowledge on their part will prevent them from evoluting superficially true or

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POLITICAL SERIES: 131 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
really false political views of the candidates. If this were another time, when the Nation was on the rise in all spheres, full of vigor and strength, it would have been all very well. But at present, it is too much of a burden on them to think about the election.
3. TSUSHIMA, Teruko, aged 23, Chemist in the Red Cross Hospital: Well everyone has been thinking of women's suffrage, or less, but no one ever expected that it would be given so suddenly and so early. So I doubt if we are qualified to cast votes.
4. SHIBUSHITA, Michiko, aged 22, a Clerk: It has been customary with women, when asked for their opinions, to be shy and hesitating, and abstain from speaking out even when they have something to say. If they were interested in politics or published their criticisms about it, they wore branded as "conceited". But now they can avail themselves of the five opportunity of enfranchisment. Thus, it is good that they are enabled to give utterance to their political views freely arid positively.
Mrs. SATO, aged 42, wife of the head of the KOSEIDO Hospital: In foreign countries there have been cases in which women suffrage has been obtained at the cost of bloodshed. It was such a dearly bought privilege abroad, but in our country, it is given to us peacefully without any sacrifice. It is too much, however, to hope that woman's suffrage will play an important part in the coming general election. I hope that the Japanese women, will in the future, be interested in politics.
Question; I am inclined to think that pessimistic views are predominent, though there is no opponent of the suffrage among you. What do you think about that? The other day, I talked over the problem with the principal of the HIROSHIMA Women's College. He said the students were taught civics and politics to provide training for the suffrage. Both teachers and students were interested in the instruction of these subjects, but when some of them were asked for their views on politics, they were quite ignorant. They knew almost nothing about the Progressive or the Liberal Party. Even the intelligent classes are in such a deplorable condition. What of the woman in the farming villages? I am afraid there will be many cases of absenteeism in the coming general election. I should like to hear what the female workers on the farm think about this problem?
MITO, Yoko, aged 30, a farmer: As far as I know, very few among the women of the farming community know anything about women's suffrage. "Premature" is the word of those who nave some interest in political participation. Of course there are exceptions, but the farmers are mainly apathetic, or rather, they may, inwardly regard it as an unwelcome gift. This no wonder in agrarian districts where they have no time to spare for either newspapers or radios. Some say the time spent in going out to vote is a burden. Under these circumstances I am afraid of a very high percentage absentecism, and there is a danger of multification of the suffrage granted. To counteract this it seems necessary that educational propaganda is necessary, disseminated through entertainment such as cinemas, theatres, etc.
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POLITICAL SERIES: 131 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
SHIGETA, Takeyo, aged 28, teacher in an elementary school: hot only in the agrarian villages, but among the public in general will there be many who give up the right to vote because of prevailing general confusion. If we prod them on they will be dragged into the views of their fathers, brothers or husbands and the result will be the loss of honest vote which are especially expected of women. Therefore, it is inadvisable to hunt them out, but positive efforts must be exerted for the advancement of women's political as well as general education.
Question: According to your opinions, the necessity of women's political education is keenly felt. Especially now that women's suffrage is no more a mere ideal but has been actually granted and is to be put into practice next January or February, their enlightenment is extremely urgent. What are your opinions regarding this?
Dr. HIRASAWA, Shizuko, a woman doctor attached to KURE SHIMIN Hospital: Since suffrage is now an established fact, arguments pro or con are of no use. What we must think out is how to put it to good use and, with all our efforts, we must attend to education through every available method. Not only through newspapers and periodicals, but by using current world events should education be sunk skillfully and kindly into their ears and eyes.
YOSHIDA, Fusae, aged 23, an interpreter: I do not know much about JAPAN's politics having come home in September 1941 on the TATSUTA-MARU from OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA. I only wish there were educational institutions for women's political enlightment. From their own standpoint women should express their political opinions and be given opportunities to discuss political matters with men, If we do so, we shall have more concern about politics, and our knowledge will be enriched. If an unwritten law were created that a "NIAI" (TN: An interview between a prospective bride and groom.) be made our occasion where a mental test regarding politics will be made, it would be effective in getting the women to have interest in politics.
SHIBUSHITA, Mitsuko: Unmarried women need men's sympathy in this respect and they wish men's kind guidance and enlightenment.
Mrs. SATO: It appears to me that much is expected of young women in the lady of fostering political culture. The fact that many young girls who, as members of voluntary corps, got into contact with many people may be of service in one way or another in the future.
KOMA, Tomiko, aged 21, student of a school of pharmacy: I think that the suffrage is a good chance for the advancement of women's position, cultureal and moral education. Its importance lies in the future. I am doubtful of the immediate result, as the suffrage has been given in farm and name to women who have up still now, been quite isolated from the outside world.
Question: We have understood from you that the training of women in political culture is the key to the result of the general election, and that this training will be done by allying it with the present interests of women. Will you vote for a male or a female candidate?
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POLITICAL SERIES: 131 (Continued)
ITEM 1 (Continued)
KIHARA, Hiroko, aged 28, resident of HIROSHIMA City: I am very ashamed that I do not know anything about the political world because of past circumstances. However, I am going to chose a suitable person after discussing the candidates with my father and others.
TSUZIRA, Mitsuko: We shall not be able to find suitable persons, I fear, among women candidates, though we can find them among male candidates. However, there are so many cases where women can be of help that women also will be necessary to the political world.
NOBUKIYO, Kiyo: I also think that there are only few women who can be trusted with national political responsibility. Women know best about women's affairs, of course, but candidates who are going to run in the election must be just and must make efforts to realize democracy in our country. The officials are so hard to live with now, after the war, that we are awaiting the appearance of any new acceptable person.
MASUI, Hisako, aged 42, chief nurse of the Japanese Red Cross: Those who run for election must be honest and must work for the welfare of the people. Frankly speaking, politics in the past have been dishonest. We wish for rational politics that reflects the will of the people. The appearance of women applicants in necessary, but we must criticize them and study their opinions, Arbitary, unthinking voting by women must be avoided.
SHIMAMOTO, Masue: Women who have been stating their opinions in politics are usually from higher than the middle class, which has no trouble with family affairs, while the representatives who go to the Diet must be elected from the lower clases. They will understand our troubles and problems. Various discussions came up in the Diet on the ration of staple food, but the some members of the Diet who were arguing about the food ration ate a special luncheon afterward which was clearly a kind of double ration. We hope for the early withdrawal of these members.
HIRASAWA, Shizuko: Radical political movements, such as Communism, might disappear when women join national politics. Generally, women are fond of peaseful political parties, like the Progressive Party. Charity and relief programs in the past have been carried out under the auspices of the government, but these programs must be affected by women's Political power in the future. Children who are war victims, must not be left to the case of men.
SHIBUSHITA, Mitsuko: I want to elect a person who has full understanding of our real life rather than am idealist.
The final speech of the chairman: We have fully understood that you all favor practical people, rather than idealists. Those two faced members of the House of Representatives who use all sorts of flowery words yet say nothing must be withdrawn in the coming general election by the power of women. It is good to know that you all have fairly criticized the women candidates and are not blindly following them. We sincerly hope that you will soon escape from the present miserable situation and elect capable candidates after studying each one carefully.
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HomePress translations [Japan]. Political Series 0131, 1945-12-30.
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