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Raising a Child: Then and Now (Part V – Raising a “Good” Baby)

[This is a guest post written by Risa Tanji, a Student Assistant in Special Collections & University Archives, who works primarily in the Prange Collection.  This is the last post of the series. See also the Introduction, Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.]

The meaning of good parenting has evolved over time. During the early post-war years in Japan, parents were focused on raising a strong, independent child, while parents today seem to be more interested in fulfilling their babies’ needs.

Akanbo no sodatekata (Prange Call No. 2019-0038) front cover

In his book, The Common Sense of Child Rearing/赤ん坊の育て方 (Prange Call No. 2019-0038), Dr. Toshio Tanaka strongly suggested that mothers cuddle their children only when necessary. He believed that when the mother-baby “skinship” was excessive, the baby would develop an excessive craving for hugs and piggy-back-rides and would become a difficult child.

He also advised that mothers should only be with their child when breastfeeding, and that children would be happier to see their mother only at certain times of the day. Now, many mothers feel that holding their child as much as possible contributes to the child’s well being. 

The Common Sense of Child Rearing also included baby sleep advice. Tanaka strongly advised against parents sleeping with their babies.  He was concerned that the baby would want to nurse all night — this would disrupt the breastfeeding schedule — and neither the baby nor the parents would get enough sleep.  

Today, there are disputes among parents and researchers about the family bed. Some prefer putting their baby in a crib, for fear of rolling over and crushing them.  Others are in favor of the family bed, wishing to maximize their time with their children to foster a closer relationship.

According to Dr. Tanaka, one of the best ways to gauge babies’ overall health is by analyzing how much they cry.  Tanaka stated that healthy babies rarely cry, never regurgitate their milk, and refuse to be held by their parents. In contrast, unhealthy babies cry often and refuse to be away from their mother. This notion is in contrast to the famous Japanese proverb, “Children who cry will grow.” Now, many parents understand that crying is a primary form of communication for a baby, and most parents would be more concerned if their baby never cried and rejected their embrace.



  1. Awaya, Shinobu. (2014). “Hito No Kenko Wa Taijiki Kara Kimaru : DOHaD Setsu (Seijinbyo Taijiki Hassho Kigensetsu) No Dai-Ichininsha Fukuoka Hideoki Sensei Ni Kiku” [People’s Health Is Determined During Their Fetal Period : Delivered by Dr. Hideoki Fukuoka, The Leading Theorist of the DOHaD (Developmental Origins of Health and Disease) Hypothesis] (Daiokishin, Kankyo Horumon Taisaku Kokumin Kaigi Nyusureta Dai 87-go [Dioxin and Environmental Hormone-Preventing National Congress Newsletter, vol. 87]). [online]http://kokumin-kaigi.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/fukuoka871.pdf. Accessed March 27, 2019.
  2. Chiba-ken Ishikai. (2010). “Kodomo Sodanshitsu : Bonyu Ikujichu No Byoki Ni Tsuite” [Counseling Room on Children : On Diseases During The Breastfeeding Period] (Mireniamu Dai 35-go [Millenium vol. 35]). [online]https://www.chiba.med.or.jp/general/millennium/pdf/millennium35_14.pdf. Accessed March 12, 2019.
  3. Ehime Seikyo Byoin. (2002). “Jikachudoku (Asetonkessei Otosho, Shukisei Otosho)” [Autointoxication (Acetonic Vomiting, Cyclic Vomiting)]. [online]http://www.e-seikyo-hp.jp/medical/pediatrics/6.pdf. Accessed February 26, 2019.
  4. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomics. (2019). “Iryoyo Iyakuhin no Yakko Bunrui” [Therapeutic Category of Drugs in Japan]. [online]https://www.genome.jp/kegg-bin/get_htext?jp08301+D00142. Accessed April 3, 2019.
  5. Moriya, Mitsuo. (1949). “Ikuji Shinrigaku” [Child Raising Psychology]. Kyoto City: Usui Shobo. Prange Call Number 2019-0019.
  6. Nakabachi, Fujiro. (1948). “Byoki O Sasenu Shin Ikujiho” [New Child-Raising Methods to Raise an Illness-Free Child]. Tokyo: Fujin Tosho Shuppansha. Prange Call Number 2019-0022.
  7. Ota, Yuriko. (2016). “Jyozu Na Oyatsu No Torikata” [Good Ways to Eat Snacks]. (Kodomo No Mikaku O Hagukumu Shokuji No Hinto Vol.06 [Hints To Nurture Children’s Palate Through Meals Vol.06]). [online]https://shoku.hapiku.com/column/004/mikaku-006/. Accessed April 14, 2019.
  8. Saitama Josanin. (2009). “‘Nyuyoji No Atopisei Hifuen” No Benkyokai Ni Ittekimashita!” [We Went to a Study Session on “Atopic Dermatitis For Infants”!] (Saitama Josanin Nyusureta No.1 [Saitama OB/GYN Newsletter No. 1]). [online]http://saitamajosanin.com/saitama-josanin_newsNO1.pdf. Accessed February 26, 2019.
  9. Seiiku Shikkan Kokufukuto Jisedai Ikusei Kiban Kenkyu Jigyo. (2013). “Nyuyoji Shintai Hatsuiku Hyoka Manyuaru : Nyuyoji Shintai Hatsuiku Chosa No Tokeigakuteki Kaiseki To Sono Shuho Oyobi Rikatsuyo Ni Kansuru Kenkyu” [Manual For Evaluating Infant Somatic Growth : Research on Statistical Analysis of Infant Somatic Growth Investigation and the Methods and Application of the Study]. [online]https://www.niph.go.jp/soshiki/07shougai/hatsuiku/index.files/katsuyou.pdf. Accessed February 24, 2019.
  10. Shufu No Tomosha Henshukyoku. (1948). “Akachan No Shokuji To Oyatsu” [Babies’ Meals and Snacks]. Tokyo: Shufu No Tomosha. Prange Call Number 2019-0012.
  11. Tanaka, Toshio. (1946). “Akanbo No Sodatekata” [How to Raise a Baby]. Fukuoka City: Tanaka Shonika Iin. Prange Call Number 2019-0038.
  12. World Health Organization. (2008). “Ninshinchu Oyobi Jyunyuki No Shokuhin Anzen To Eiyo” [Food Safety and Nutrition During Pregnancy and Lactation Period] (Kokusai Shokuhini Anzen Tokyoku Nettowaku Information Note No. 3 [INFOSAN: International Food Safety Authorities Network Information Note No. 3]). [online]https://www.chiba.med.or.jp/general/millennium/pdf/millennium35_14.pdf. Accessed March 28, 2019.
  13. Yamamoto, Yasumichi. (1948). “Ikuji No Joshiki” [The Common Sense of Child Rearing]. Tokyo: Sobunsha. Prange Call Number 2019-0013.
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Raising a Child: Then and Now (Part IV – Snacks and Weaning Foods)

[This is a guest post written by Risa Tanji, a Student Assistant in Special Collections & University Archives, who works primarily in the Prange Collection.  See Introduction, Part I, Part II, and Part III.]

As babies grow, parents begin to introduce baby foods and snacks to their diet to familiarize them with the way that adults eat meals. The type of foods that were eaten as snacks and the way of integrating snack times into children’s schedules differed slightly between the early post World War II period in Japan and now.  

I compared the information in two books, Babies’ Meals and Snacks/赤ちゃんの食事とお八つ by Shufu no Tomosha Henshukyoku (Prange Call No. 2019-0012) and The Common Sense of Child Rearing/育児の常識 by Dr. Yasumichi Yamamoto (Prange Call No. 2019-0013), with information from Dr. Yuriko Ota, a registered dietitian in Japan, as a representative example of current Japanese perspectives on this topic.

Babies’ Meals and Snacks listed specific examples of snacks such as sweet potato and bread pudding, creams made from various vegetables or nuts, jelly, apple otoshiyaki (traditional Japanese pan-fried cookies), and apple starch gruel. According to Dr. Ota, the ideal snacks for babies, especially for those who are one to two years old, are those that compensate for nutrients that are generally harder for babies to get through their meals.

Some dishes, such as starch gruel (suggested to be served hot), did not seem to be particularly appetizing, but perhaps was advised more for its nutritional value and vibrant color. There were many potato-based snacks, such as sweet potato tarts and sweet-potato jelly, that are still commonly eaten today.  All of the snacks in the book were homemade, and considering how time-consuming they were to make, we can be assume that store-bought snacks were uncommon and/or unaffordable for many families.

Dr. Yamamoto stressed the importance of snacks for children.  He suggested that children be given a snack twice a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, until about age five or six.  Many scientists today would agree that snacking is important for children’s growth, because children use more energy than adults.  Dr. Ota, however, suggests that one snack a day is sufficient for children over three years old. 

The “emotional sensitivity” that Dr. Yamamoto repeatedly showed concern about was mentioned in this section of his book as well. He believed that if the parents were too stressed about food, their children would also become stressed, and stressed children would develop weak digestive systems. Though he emphasized the importance of snacks, he also conjectured that eating too many snacks or eating at the wrong time could lead to gastrointestinal problems. 

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Farewell to Crossing the Divide

Nearly ten months ago, we installed the exhibit, “Crossing the Divide:  An American Dream Made in Occupied Japan, 1945-1952,” in the Maryland Room Gallery.  We have now taken it down, but it will live on through the companion online exhibit by the same name. The exhibit catalog can be found here.

We highly recommend that you check out the next exhibit in the Maryland Room Gallery, “Made Possible by Viewers Like You: Maryland Public Television Turns 50,” which traces the history of Maryland’s only statewide broadcaster. It will be on display from September 2019 through July 2020.

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Dr. Takashi Nagai – Fujin Gaho article on August 1949

Today we mark the 74th anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki.

The August 1949 issue of the women’s magazine, Fujin Gaho/婦人画報 (Prange Call No. F62), included an article entitled, “Seimei no tomoshibi: Kaminari oyaji/生命の灯:雷おやぢ,” by Takashi Nagai/永井隆 (1908-1951). Nagai was a physician who survived the dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. His experiences were memorialized in what is perhaps his best known work, The Bells of Nagasaki/長崎の鐘 (Prange call no. D-0336).

In this article, Nagai described the Emperor’s visit to his bedside. His two children were present. The article included several photographs — one of the Emperor’s visit, several of Nagai and his children, and one of Nagai conducting research with a microscope while bedridden.

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Raising a Child: Then and Now (Part III – Mothers’ Health)

[This is a guest post written by Risa Tanji, a Student Assistant in Special Collections & University Archives, who works primarily in the Prange Collection.  See Introduction, Part I and Part II.]

After reading several books published during the Occupation of Japan on raising children, such as The Common Sense of Child Rearing/育児の常識 (Prange Call No. 2019-0013) by Dr. Yasumichi Yamamoto and New Child-Raising Methods to Raise an Illness-Free Child/病気をさせぬ新育児法 (Prange Call No. 2019-0022) by Dr. Fujiro Nakabachi, I was astonished to find that every book, without exception, targeted female readers or mothers.

It is much easier now to find parenting books for fathers, but at that time, the number of books, or even portions of books, that were directed toward men was almost nil.  I started to wonder whether fathers ever participated in raising their children.  It is clear from the books I read, that the household responsibilities of men and women were separate and distinct during that time period.  

One of the most common topics in these books was breastfeeding. For example, Dr. Yamamoto was concerned about mothers being “nervous” or sensitive, as he believed being emotionally sensitive would decrease breast milk production.

He suggested a mother should sleep well at night, no matter what, even if that meant that she had to leave her baby with someone else while she rested. Dr. Yamamoto also believed that “intellectual mothers,” or mothers of a higher class with education, were also likely to be sensitive and, therefore, would produce less breast milk than mother’s with less education.

Though we understand now that there may be factors, such as stress, that affect hormones, there is no prevailing notion within the medical community that links a mother’s education level with her emotional sensitivity, let alone her education level with breast milk production.

Dr. Yamamoto also suggested that massaging and Vitamin L supplements would aid mammalian gland development and, thus, breast milk production in mothers. Currently, Vitamin L supplements are rarely found on the market, but many galactagogue supplements contain prolactin and Vitamin L (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes, 2019).

As for massaging, Dr. Yamamoto was unsure of the effects on breast milk secretion, as he believed that it may just be the psychological effects that work on some mothers. However, there are still many mothers today who perform massages on themselves or have them done by a midwife not only to increase milk secretion, but also to prevent mastitis development.

Dr. Nakabachi also suggested breastfeeding infants, and he asserted that it was beneficial for mothers to have hormonal injections to boost breast milk production, especially for a week or two after delivery. He also encouraged mothers to start wiping their nipples with alcohol at five or six months into pregnancy in order to fortify the skin.

I was intrigued by the fact that both books, among many others, were written with the assumption that mothers would breastfeed. It seems that the general consensus at the time was that breast milk was by far the best nutriment for babies.

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Raising a Child: Then and Now (Part II – Breast Milk vs. Infant Formula)

[This is a guest post written by Risa Tanji, a Student Assistant in Special Collections & University Archives, who works primarily in the Prange Collection.  See Introduction and Part I.]

This week, August 1 through August 7, is World Breastfeeding Week!  In honor of this week, I will explore one of the most discussed topics in child raising – breast milk vs. formula.

It’s no surprise that many first-time parents agonize over what are the most nutritious foods for their babies. While many beliefs and attitudes regarding food have changed over time, it seems that one that has been fairly constant through the generations is that mothers’ breast milk has the best nutritional value for babies.

Dr. Yasumichi Yamamoto emphasized just that in his book, The Common Sense of Child Rearing/育児の常識 (Prange Call No. 2019-0013 — that only breast milk could provide babies with sufficient nutrition. He claimed that mothers should continue to breastfeed even with “bad breast milk,” which was said to be secreted when the mother was ill. We still share similar beliefs, but skin-to-skin contact is also recognized as an important component of breastfeeding that supplies babies with “psychological nutrition.”

The Common Sense of Child Rearing also listed alternatives to breast milk, such as cow’s milk, goat’s milk, and rice gruel, but all of these were said to lack nutritional value, and some were expensive and difficult to obtain. Taking into consideration that these milk substitutes may be unavailable, Babies’ Meals and Snacks (Prange Call No. 2019-0012) by the Shufu No Tomo Editorial Office explained in detail how to prepare and feed milk alternatives. Interestingly, many of the alternatives are products that are rarely seen today, such as egg yolk milk, dry sardine milk, and peanut milk.

Furthermore, it was thought that infant formula would never be better than cow’s milk, but that is not necessarily the case in current-day Japan. Not only have infant formulas improved in quality, but now there are a variety of formulas with different nutritional values for babies with differing physical conditions.

Dr. Yamamoto also warned parents of pediatric obesity in his publication. While many parents found joy in watching their babies grow larger, Dr. Yamamoto thought that babies who were too plump had the same health risks as obese adults. While it is still said that obese infants have higher risks of developing ailments as adults, studies have shown that once babies start moving more actively around age one, or once they start walking, their chubbiness will start to subside naturally, and parents should not be too concerned (Shinobu Awaya, 2014). Dr. Yamamoto also mentioned that breast-fed babies will not become fat, but cow milk-fed babies are at higher risk of becoming obese.

In How to Raise a Baby/赤ん坊の育て方 (Prange Call No. 2019-0038), Dr. Tanaka Toshio recommended a specific breastfeeding schedule and when to start weaning. He asserted that breastfeeding (or milk feeding for mothers who use alternatives) should be done in a routine manner in order to nurture an obedient, easy-to-raise child. He recommended feeding the child every three hours; six times a day for ten minutes, excluding the nighttime after ten o’clock. He even emphasized that if the baby is asleep for their designated feeding time, mothers should wake them up to create a rhythm for the baby so that their metabolism will start to follow that cycle.

In contrast, it is now thought that there is no “correct” method for breastfeeding that applies to every mother and child. Instead, obstetricians will usually advice mothers to use a method that is in keeping with their child-raising plans and the baby’s needs.

As for weaning, Dr. Tanaka claimed that babies will start to become weak and ill if they do not start weaning before eight-months old. Many mothers today may feel as though this is slightly too early, which is no surprise. The WHO (World Health Organization) published a paper in 2008 suggesting that mothers continue breastfeeding their children until age two. The paper also reported that natural weaning starts somewhere between nine-months old and three-and-a-half-years old.

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Raising a Child: Then and Now (Part I- Babies’ Growth and Health)

[This is a guest post written by Risa Tanji, a Student Assistant in Special Collections & University Archives, who works primarily in the Prange Collection.]

I started researching for this blog series by comparing the Average Standard Growth chart (see chart 2-1 on p.10) published by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to the chart published in Mitsuo Moriya’s Child Raising Psychology (Prange Call No. 2019-0019). According to this data, babies in the early post-World War II years were much smaller and lighter than babies now, regardless of their gender. Though the birth weights are approximately the same, babies grow much faster now and are significantly heavier than babies in the late 1940s. In terms of height, babies are born larger and continue to grow at a faster rate nowadays, so there is an even larger difference in size.

What remains unchanged over the years, however, may be the anxiety that parents feel for their children’s health and sensitivity to their conditions. Considering the hygienic conditions and medical technology after the war, it is no surprise that there were many mothers who assumed that anything could be a sign of a deadly illness or something that causes one.

Ikuji no joshiki (Prange Call No. 2019-0013) front cover

Dr. Yasumichi Yamamoto states in his book, The Common Sense of Child Rearing (Prange Call No. 2019-0013), that night sweats and a sensitive personality were signs of diseases.  Today, babies’ night sweats are considered indications of a good metabolism and linking personalities with physical illnesses is rather uncommon. Drooling was also considered a sign of mental deficiency.  Recent research shows that drooling by infants has benefits for their immune system (Saitama Maternity Hospital, 2009).

Dr. Yamamoto claims that autotoxemia, which was uncommon during wartime, became more prevalent after the war because children were exposed to a wider variety of foods, as opposed to a limited number of foods during the war (often anything that could be scavenged).

Ikuji no joshiki (Prange Call No. 2019-0013) pp.182-183

Growing up in the city was another reason for concern in the early post-war period. It was feared that it would make children overweight, because they did not have to do physical work to obtain food.  It was also thought to worsen symptoms of catarrhal diathesis, and, ultimately, those children would grow to have a weak constitution. It is still the general consensus that living in the countryside is better for one’s health, but this does not mean that living in the city would be considered a sole cause of illnesses.