2011 Volume 56 Issue 2 Pages 451-465
A study was conducted to clarify the situation of teachers who taught gymnastics at girls' high schools in the late Meiji Era, and to examine the extent to which the goal of “having to the best of their ability girls' gymnastics taught by female teachers” was actually achieved. Material for this study was acquired from the List of Schools Personnel (published in 1904) and the List of Secondary Schools Personnel (published in 1906 and 1908).
It was found that more female than male teachers taught gymnastics at this time. Female teachers who taught gymnastics were posted to around 80% of girls' high schools. The placement of male teachers who taught gymnastics at girls' high schools decreased from 68.7% in 1903 to 45.8% in 1908. In each year, approximately 70% of teachers who taught gymnastics were female.
76.8% (excluding those for whom no alma mater information: 96.2%) of female teachers who taught gymnastics were graduates of the Women's Higher Normal School. These teachers had gymnastics teacher's certificates in conjunction with certificates in other subjects such as Japanese, science and home economics. By 1908 this number had gradually decreased to 33.7% (excluding those for whom no alma mater information: 49.6%). On the other hand, graduates of gymnastics schools who taught exclusively gymnastics increased, and accounted for approximately 34.3% (excluding those for whom no alma mater information: 50.5%) in 1908. Graduates from the privately owned Tokyo Women's Gymnastics and Music School increased rapidly in 1908, and came to occupy approximately 25% of the total (excluding those for whom no alma mater information: 36.7%). On the other hand, graduates from the only other privately owned school were less successful in producing graduates.
1906 saw the start of a shift from teachers who taught a range of subjects to teachers who taught exclusively gymnastics. In 1908 approximately 20% of girls' high schools nationwide had not achieved the Girls' High School syllabus target of “having to the best of their ability girls' gymnastics taught by female teachers”. As most private gymnastics school graduates were unqualified, they became “assistant teachers” or “part-time teachers” with lower salaries.
Private schools attempted to make up for the neglect of female gymnastics teacher training in Japan. As a result, many female gymnastics teachers were only able to gain employment on an assistant or part-time basis.