Institutionalization of motherhood in Japan, The: The Evolution of "Mother" since the Meiji Restoration of 1868
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The author traces the evolution of the role of the mother in the Japanese family from the beginning of the Meiji Restoration of 1868 through 1996. An analysis of three contemporary Japanese women's magazines - Fujingaho, Kateigaho, and Josei Zasshi - is used to discuss both the mother's place in the Japanese home and in society and the worries facing the middle-class, urban mother in Japan at the turn of the 20th century. The author uses two themes common to the magazines, the System Kitchen and the preparation of the Obento (school lunch box), to illustrate a mother's role as nourisher, disciplinarian and provider for her family. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of the negative opinions about motherhood that younger Japanese women have today and the societal trends that are pushing the marriage age higher and the birthrate lower.