Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

Beate Gordon (1923-2012)

At age 22, Gordon wrote women’s rights into the Japanese constitution

Print Email
Beate Gordon (bottom left) with her family in Japan.(KYODO)

If you’d like to be humbled as you move into the new year, I highly suggest checking out the Times obit of Beate Sirota Gordon, who passed away on Sunday at 89.

Born to Russian Jewish parents, Gordon was separated from her parents during World War II while they were in Japan and she was in college in the States. Fluent in many languages, Gordon arrived in Japan as part of General Douglas MacArthur’s occupying forces. It was there she became involved in helping draft the new Japanese constitution, which she rarely spoke about until decades later.

Her work — drafting language that gave women a set of legal rights pertaining to marriage, divorce, property and inheritance that they had long been without in Japan’s feudal society — had an effect on their status that endures to this day.

“It set a basis for a better, a more equal society,” Carol Gluck, a professor of Japanese history at Columbia University, said Monday in a telephone interview. “By just writing those things into the Constitution — our Constitution doesn’t have any of those things — Beate Gordon intervened at a critical moment. And what kind of 22-year-old gets to write a constitution?”

Check out the rest here. Great story.

Beate Gordon, Feminist Heroine in Japan, Dies at 89 [NYT]

 

Print Email

COMMENTING CHARGES
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at letters@tabletmag.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Beate Gordon (1923-2012)

At age 22, Gordon wrote women’s rights into the Japanese constitution

More on Tablet:

Seders in Uniform: How American Troops Celebrated Passover During WWII

By Marjorie Ingall — Whether in the mess hall or on a battleship, Jewish soldiers stationed all over the world still sang the Four Questions and ate matzo