Fukuda, Hideko (1865–1927)

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Fukuda, Hideko (1865–1927)

Japanese writer. Name variations: Kageyama Hideko; Fukuda Hideko. Born Hideko Kageyama, 1865, in Okayama, Western Japan; died May 1927; dau. of Katashi (provincial samurai) and Umeko (schoolteacher); left elementary school to become an assistant teacher in 1879; m. Fukuda Yusaku (American-trained scholar), 1892 (died 1900); children: (with Oi Kentaro) 1 son; (with Fukuda Yusaku) 3 sons.

Pioneer in the women's liberation movement during the Meiji era and one of the few women in the early socialist movement, who was editor of Japan's 1st feminist journal and author of the 1st autobiography of a woman to be written in her country; joined women's rights movement after hearing Kishida Toshiko speak (1882); opened a school for girls and women (1883); moved to Tokyo after school closed by authorities (1884); joined group of radical liberal activists, and was arrested and imprisoned for her role as an explosives courier in what became known as the Osaka Incident (1885); became a public figure when she was tried and sent to jail for 10 months (1887); after release from prison, lived with Oi Kentaro, a leader in the radical liberal movement, and gave birth to a son (1890); became a socialist and started school for women (1901); published autobiography Half My Life, an immediate success, and began campaign against restrictions against women in Meiji Civil Code (1904); published the novel My Reminiscences (1905), which was less well received; founded feminist magazine Sekai Fujin (Women of the World, 1907), the project for which she would best be known, though it was later banned by Tokyo court (1909); wrote article for feminist journal Seito, advocating the establishment of a community system that would use "all scientific knowledge and mechanical power" for the "equality and benefit of all" (this issue of the journal was also banned, 1913); continued feminist and socialist activities up to year of death (1927).

See also Women in World History.