Since its foundation, Edition Synapse has specialized in the publication of primary-source materials relating to the history of the Anglo-Japanese relationship and has provided the academic market with nineteenth-century English books on Japan, reprinted in facsimile and including many visual sources, such as illustrations and photographs. Continuing the tradition, this new Edition Synapse series—now available outside Japan from Routledge—collects publications by Christian missionary women, both missionary wives and female missionaries, who worked in Japan from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century.
Many Christian missionaries came to Japan after the Meiji restoration in 1868. Although they were not able to convert many Japanese, they played a significant role in the rapid Westernization of Japan. In particular, women missionaries took leading roles in activities relating to local women and children in Japan, and they left an important and indelible mark in the history of education of Japanese women and children.
This first collection of the series includes twelve works on Japan by British women in the missions. Authors of those books observed rapid changes in Japanese society and not only reported the facts, but also gave detailed analyses of the background to them. Their observations illustrate these British women’s great curiosity, genuine concern for the local society, and their positive attitude in trying to comprehend a very different culture. The contents covered by each book are broad, most of them refer not only to the missionary activities, but try to introduce Japan in general, as well as the historical and religious background, and the daily life of ordinary people and the situation of Japanese women.