Yae Niijima (1845-1932) is one of the most unconventional women in Japan’s history. Born into a family of artillery experts, Yae spent her childhood working on her marksmanship. In 1868, when the Boshin War started, she joined male soldiers to help protect the Aizu region. She was 22 at the time and armed with her own Spencer repeating rifle.

Baptized into the Christian faith, Yae continued to defy Japanese society’s stereotypes of women. Her refusal to be submissive to her husband, Jo, shocked those around her, and she was often criticized for being a “bad wife.”

This exhibition is in collaboration with this year’s NHK Taiga historical drama focusing on Yae; till May 6.

Edo Tokyo Museum; (03) 3626-9974; 1-4-1 Yokoami, Sumida-ku, Tokyo; Ryogoku Station, Sobu Line. 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (Sat. till 7:30 p.m.). ¥1,300. Closed Mon. (except March 25, April 29, May 6). www.edo-tokyo-museum.or.jp/english.

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