Little makes Japanese adults feel quite as anxious today as the so-called “child crisis.” Various media teem with intense debates about bullying at schools, child poverty, child suicides, occasional violent crimes committed by children, the rise of socially withdrawn youngsters, and forceful moves by the government to introduce a decisively more conservative educational curriculum. These issues have propelled Japan into the center of a set of global conversations about the nature of children and how to raise them. Engaging both the history of children/childhood and the history of emotions, contributors to this volume track Japanese childhood over a myriad of historical scenarios. Such explorations— some traveling far into the early modern past—are made possible through letters, diaries, memoirs, family and household records, and religious polemics about promising, rambunctious, sickly, happy, and dutiful youngsters.
Sabine Frühstück is Professor of Modern Japanese Cultural Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her publications include Colonizing Sex: Sexology and Social Control in Modern Japan and Uneasy Warriors: Gender, Memory and Popular Culture in the Japanese Army.
Anne Walthall is Professor emerita of Japanese History at the University of California, Irvine. Her publications include Social Protest and Popular Culture in Eighteenth Century Japan, Peasant Uprisings in Japan: A Critical Anthology of Peasant Histories, The Weak Body of a Useless Woman: Matsuo Taseko and the Meiji Restoration, and Japan: A Cultural, Social, and Political History.