After the article came out, I received an e-mail from a friend about Niijima. With his permission, I am copying it here:
Thank you so much for the latest article. My wife is from
My wife read up on Niijima Jo and his wife tonight on the Japanese section of Wikipedia, and apparently she was quite a woman as well. She was teaching at a girl's school when they first met, and she was well known for demanding that the governor support the school financially, to the point of going to his house, apparently uninvited, to talk to him about it, which was considered extremely inappropriate for a woman at the time. Jo had told one of his mentors that he wanted a woman who would not blindly follow her husbands lead, and the man immediately told him about her.
Also of note is the fact that Jo started a school for girls a year after he started his first boy's school. Educating women was not seen as a worthwhile endeavour in
Thank you again for the article. It brightened our day!
He also pointed me to a book on Neesima's life and letters available free through Google books.
Thank you, Jason!