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Childrearing Methods and Decreased Growth: An Examination of Infant Health in the Farming Communities of Taishō Japan (1912–1926)

  • Kazunori MurakoshiEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Monograph Series of the Socio-Economic History Society, Japan book series (MSSEHSJ)

Abstract

This paper addresses the relationship between the growth of infants and the feeding process in rural Japan during the Taishō period. First, it will be shown that during this period the growth rates of infants living in rural areas were lower than the rates that characterized the mid Meiji period (1890–1896) and the beginning of the Shōwa period (1927–1929). It will also be established that most infants living in rural areas during the Taishō period continued to be breast-fed until the end of their first year. It will therefore be proposed that the decline in growth rates of rural infants can be attributed to breastfeeding practices. In the next section, evidence is presented to show that when mothers were engaged in heavy agricultural work soon after childbirth this was likely to result in a decrease in daily opportunities for breastfeeding. Finally, the evidence and analyses will be used to develop the hypothesis that decreased daily breast feeding as a result of engagement in heavy agricultural labor led to diminished milk production among mothers for several months after delivery. Despite this, many infants continued to be breast-fed, resulting in decreased growth during the latter half of infancy.

Keywords

Traditional childrearing methods Decreased breast milk production Farming communities Decreased growth of infants Taishō period 

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Copyright information

© Socio-Economic History Society, Japan 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Media and Information ResourcesSurugadai UniversityHannō, SaitamaJapan

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