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Science for Governing Japan's Population
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Book description

Twenty-first-century Japan is known for the world's most aged population. Faced with this challenge, Japan has been a pioneer in using science to find ways of managing a declining birth rate. Science for Governing Japan's Population considers the question of why these population phenomena have been seen as problematic. What roles have population experts played in turning this demographic trend into a government concern? Aya Homei examines the medico-scientific fields around the notion of population that developed in Japan from the 1860s to the 1960s, analyzing the role of the population experts in the government's effort to manage its population. She argues that the formation of population sciences in modern Japan had a symbiotic relationship with the development of the neologism, 'population' (jinkō), and with the transformation of Japan into a modern sovereign power. Through this history, Homei unpacks assumptions about links between population, sovereignty, and science. This title is also available as Open Access.


‘How did 'population' figure in the monumental change of the idiosyncratic Japanese state, from the 1860s to the 1960s? With masterful expertise, Homei has written the authoritative account, taking in everything from land planning to co-prosperity schemes to medical midwifery, from empire to occupation and beyond. A major contribution to reassessing population in modern world history.’

Alison Bashford - University of New South Wales

‘An enormously ambitious book, and one to set alongside Matt Connelly’s Fatal Misconception and Alison Bashford’s work. Homei covers from Meiji to post-war Showa, and in doing so, makes this not just a book for Japan specialists, but also one for demography, family planning, and much of the post-colonial world.’

John DiMoia - Seoul National University

‘In this magisterial study, Homei places the development of modern population science at the center of the making of modern Japan. Combining fascinating historical detail with subtle argument, she shows that over the sweep of a full century, “the population problem” kept changing, while science and state policy became ever more entwined. Written with a sure hand in compelling prose, this book will change the way historians think about population and governance far beyond Japan.’

Susan Greenhalgh - Havard University

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Full book PDF
  • Science for Governing Japan’s Population
    pp i-i
  • Science in History - Series page
    pp ii-ii
  • Science for Governing Japan’s Population - Title page
    pp iii-iii
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Dedication
    pp v-vi
  • Contents
    pp vii-vii
  • Figures
    pp viii-viii
  • Acknowledgments
    pp ix-x
  • Note on the Text
    pp xi-xi
  • Abbreviations
    pp xii-xiv
  • Introduction
    pp 1-24
  • 1 - Population Statistics
    pp 25-57
  • Between Building a Modern State and Governing Imperial Subjects
  • 2 - Medical Midwifery and Vital Statistics
    pp 58-91
  • For the Health of Japan’s Population
  • 3 - Policy Experts
    pp 92-121
  • Tackling Japan’s “Population Problems”
  • 4 - National Land Planning
    pp 122-172
  • Distributing Populations for the Wartime Nation-State-Empire
  • 5 - Birth Control Survey
    pp 173-197
  • Visualizing a Productive Japanese Population for Postwar Reconstruction
  • Conclusion
    pp 247-262
  • Select Bibliography
    pp 263-287
  • Index
    pp 288-298


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