Fabian Drixler on the Culture of Infanticide in Eighteenth-Century Japan

Mabiki cover imageFabian Drixler’s Mabiki: Infanticide and Population Growth in Eastern Japan, 1660-1950 tells the story of a society reversing deeply held worldviews. Drixler, a professor of Japanese history at Yale University, describes the book as “a cultural history of infanticide and a demographic history of fertility change wrapped into one.”

This fascinating interview on the historical practice of infanticide with Yale’s The MacMillan Report may change the way you think about family planning and the cultural meaning of responsible parenthood. In a wide-ranging discussion, Drixler talks about what drove him to research a difficult subject like infanticide, his research methodology and challenges in gathering population data, and the importance of demography as a tool for understanding the past.