- ジェンダー史学 (ISSN:18804357)
- vol.5, pp.51-65, 2009 (Released:2010-11-02)
This paper discusses the measures taken to assist disabled soldiers in finding marriage partners from the outbreak of the war between Japan and China to the Pacific War. I will also consider the role that disabled soldiers and their wives were expected to play during wartime. During the war years, the numbers of disabled soldiers increased dramatically, and measures were taken to help these disabled soldiers find marriage partners.This program to aid disabled soldiers began in 1938 when an organization of women took the lead in efforts to introduce future partners to disabled soldiers. In response to a request from the government, the activities were extended to the whole country in 1941.A number of goals lay behind the program including: a desire to assist in the rehabilitation of disabled soldiers so that they might comeback to serve the nation; a desire to secure manpower; and bestowing honor on the soldiers. Disabled soldiers needed a strong commitment if they were to complete rehabilitation, and also needed to have a sense of their own identity as disabled soldiers. Thus it was important to draw a distinction between those with congenital disabilities, and the disabilities of the soldiers who were wounded in combat.The movement sought Japanese woman who were willing to marry disabled soldiers. Women did not normally join the military services, but marrying a disabled soldier and relieving him of despair was promoted as a way for a woman to serve the nation. In the training schools set up to support the brides of disabled soldiers, women were taught useful vocations so that they would be able to earn a living instead of their husbands.The disabled soldier's wife was also expected to be a caregiver. The wife's most important role was to support the rehabilitation of her husband so that he could again serve the nation. She was supposed to be strong enough to bear the burden in her marriage. We can imagine that it must have taken a very strong resolve for a woman to decide to marry a disabled soldier.