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Tokei-ji
Succeeding to Feminism from the 13th Century?
Date:30, Jun, 2020
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


As you know, feminism rose in the West of the 18th century. History tells us so. However, it (or something just like feminism) might have been already in Japan of the 13th century. What do I mean? Well, I'm telling here now. There is an old temple Tekei-ji in Kamakura, Kanagawa. It was built in 1285, they say. I have found something just like feminism in their history.



Tokei-ji from Enkaku-ji

File: 000-13-0306-EN2-16.jpg
from the Japanese Wikipedia
(Photoed on March 6, 2013)


Tokei-ji was founded by a Japanese nun Kakuzan-ni (1252-1306). Who is it? you may ask. She was well-known as wife of the 8th regent Hojo Tokimune and also mother of the 9th Hojo Sadatoki. Some say the temple was founded by Sadatoki. But he was just 13 years old in 1285 when it appeared. By the way, his mother Kakuzan-ni was 33 years old. Which founded? It must have been her, I suppose. In 1284, her husband Tokimune abdicated the regent throne to his son Sadatoki, and passed away. So we should consider it was founded by her and Sadatoki assisted his mother economically, shouldn't we?

History says Tokimune and Kakuzan-ni were a happy couple. And she took relief measures for wives who suffered from their husbands. Succeeding to her spirit, Tokei-ji was recognized officially as Kakekomi Temple in the Edo era. Ah, what was it? It means a public asylum for the wives who desired to be divorced but couldn't somehow. Tokei-ji worked as an asylum arbitrating their divorces. It means there was already a feminist who helped women suffering from troubles in relation to men, doesn't it?



Tokei-ji in Early Spring

File: Tokeiji-583-13-03-09 0043.JPG
from the Japanese Wikipedia
(Photoed on March 9, 2013)


I wouldn't like you to misunderstand what it was. The Edo era's Japan wasn't a male-dominated society. What is the evidence? History tells us that they had two female emperors during Ero era (1603-1868). If it were a male-dominated society, they were never abdicated, weren't they? Anytime, anywhere, there must be women who suffer from trouble by men in our world. When someone helps the women to live through the pains, it must be a feminist, mustn't it? In Japan of the 13th century, Kakuzan-ni tried it, they say although we don't have certain historical materials.







 

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