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Laura Nenzi
Florida International University Board of Trustees (Miami, FL 33199-2516)

Faculty Research Awards
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2008 – 7/31/2009

Female Activists and Political Change During the 1868 Meiji Restoration in Japan

This project looks at the parallel stories of two women, imperial loyalists Nomura Boto and Kurosawa Toki. In an age of political upheaval during which women remained largely excluded from the public sphere, Toki and Boto chose to become involved. Both challenged the Tokugawa government, both were arrested and exiled, and both were later hailed as heroines of the 1868 Meiji Restoration. The memoirs and poems they composed to follow the trajectories of their political awakenings, movements, and captivity are infused with political omens and dreams. As such, they illuminate the way in which, as women and visionaries, Toki and Boto mediated between a crumbling past and a yet uncertain future by assigning a cosmic meaning to their actions. The importance of this project rests in its approach, which reads political events through the prisms of gender and prophecy in order to enrich our understanding of female political activism in nineteenth century Japan.