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Gender, Health, and History in Modern East Asia$
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Angela Ki Che Leung and Izumi Nakayama

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9789888390908

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888390908.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HONG KONG SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hongkong.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hong Kong University Press, 2020. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HKSO for personal use.date: 26 May 2020

Gender, Health, and the Problem of “Precocious Puberty” in Meiji Japan

Gender, Health, and the Problem of “Precocious Puberty” in Meiji Japan

Chapter:
(p.37) 1 Gender, Health, and the Problem of “Precocious Puberty” in Meiji Japan
Source:
Gender, Health, and History in Modern East Asia
Author(s):

Izumi Nakayama

Publisher:
Hong Kong University Press
DOI:10.5790/hongkong/9789888390908.003.0002

Mishima Michiyoshi, a Japanese pioneer of school hygiene, believed that Japanese children experienced precocious puberty, resulting in underdeveloped and inferior physical stature in comparison to European and American children. This analysis of comparative anatomies interpreted the inferiority of the “Japanese” body as embodiment of its diminutive status in politics and civilizations. This chapter shows how intellectuals, government bureaucrats, school hygienists, and pediatric specialists viewed and interpreted children’s bodies and their physical growth, illustrating the complex interactions between ideals of civilization and gendered norms in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Japan.

Keywords:   Meiji Japan, Mishima Michiyoshi, Precocious puberty, Civilizational discourse, Masturbation

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