Patricia Tsurumi Factory Women

1267 Words6 Pages

In her book, Factory Girls: Women in the Thread Mills of Meiji Japan, E. Patricia Tsurumi details the working conditions of women employed in the textile factories of Japan during the Meiji Era of Japanese history. Tsurumi attempts to give an inclusive description of the women’s struggles, detailing the reasons for which women worked in the industry, as well as the working conditions they faced. Tsurumi begins her text by describing the importance of the women’s work to the nation of Japan, and ends it by discussing the sacrifices many women made for the good of their country, effectively painting them as heros. However, she spends the vast majority of her text detailing the poor working and living conditions faced by the women working in the …show more content…

Tsurumi goes on to say that the “performance of the women and girls in the textile mills [were] a key factor in such textile profitability” (Tsurimi, 4). Further, Tsurimi states that the lack of precedent associated with these women working in factories allowed them to develop a “distinct identity,” and one that became an “important part of the history of the Japanese working class” (Tsurimi, 5). The prominent placement of this information at the very forefront of the text makes it clear that Tsurumi believes, and wants her reader to believe, that the women and girls of these textile mills sacrificed their lives for the greater good of their nation, making them heroes of their time. This idea is expounded upon as Tsurimi discusses the scarifice these women made in order to provide for their families, even through tumultuous economic …show more content…

By discussing the issues associated with the company’s profit-motivated decisions, Tsurumi begins the discussion on the victimization of women working in the textile mills. Tsurumi cites one particular incident that took place shortly after the Osaka Company began operating its night shift, wherein there was a fire that killed ninety five workers, most of whom were women, injured others, and caused serious damage to mill facilities. Further, Tsurumi says that the “company was willing to risk workers’ lives and perhaps even take chances with its expensive machinery” in an effort to make a profit, effectively placing working women’s lives on par with the company's material goods (Tsurumi, 44). By showcasing how women were treated as dispensable, and how spinning companies’ profits were prioritized before human lives, Tsumuri is able to effectively show how the women of these textile mills were victims of an era more concerned with productivity than anything

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