Eugenics in Japan

Karen J. Schaffner ed.
2,800 yen (excl. tax)
15.5 x 1 x 22.6 cm (6.1 x 0.4 x 8.9 inches), Paperback, 176 pages
May 2014
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Eugenics and its place in the modernization of Japan has not been widely researched in international circles. It was one of the Western ideas introduced into Meiji Japan after a 300-year-long seclusion–an idea that was adopted to help Japan catch up with and overtake the great powers of the world. Genetic science, mental health care, social reform, and women’s rights were some of the circles in which eugenics was received and adapted. Desiring to become a wealthy nation with a strong army, Japan implemented eugenic policies to monitor and protect the health of its citizens. Among those deemed “unfit,” Hansen’s disease patients in particular suffered under these policies even until the 1990s. This book will provide an introduction to the history of eugenic thought in Japan and perhaps give some food for thought about prenatal diagnosis and other current practices based on genome science.


Introduction: Early Ideas of Race Betterment in Japan
      1. Meiji Japan: A Country in Transition
      2. Input of Western Ideas
      3. Betterment of the Japanese Race
  Part I  Reception of Eugenic Thought in Japan
Chapter 1 The Birth of Genetics and Eugenics
      1. The Introduction of Evolutionary Theory, Social Darwinism, and Eugenics
      2. Introduction of Mendel’s Laws and Toyama Kametarō as a Pioneer of Genetics
      3. Biologists, Agronomists, and Eugenics in Meiji Japan
      4. Genetics Education and the Birth of the Japan Genetics Society
      5. Geneticists and Eugenics
      6. Foundation of the National Institute of Genetics
      7. Postwar Promotion of Eugenics in the Magazine <i>Iden</i>
      Cocluding Remarks
Chapter 2 Eugenics and Psychiatric Medicine
      1. Psychiatric Medicine as a Tool of Social Protection
      2. Psychiatrists and Eugenics
Chapter 3 Eugenic Thought of Abe Isoo, Social Reformer in Japan
      1. Outline of Abe Isoo’s Life
      2. Abe Isoo’s Christianity
      3. Abe Isoo’s Socialism
      4. Eugenic Thought of Abe Isoo
Chapter 4 ”Good Wives, Wise Mothers” and “Racial Poisons” in Japan
      1. Temperance
      2. Tobacco
      3. Prostitution
      4. Venereal Disease
      5. Inherited Weakness
      Cocluding Remarks
  Part II  Japanese Eugenics Connections
Chapter 5 Japan-U.S. Eugenics Connections
      1. Eugenics Record Office (ERO)
      2. The American Eugenics Society (AES)
      3. Human Betterment Foundation (HBF)
      4. American Birth Control League (Planned Parenthood Federation of America 1942)
      Cocluding Remarks
Chapter 6 Nazi Sterilization Law and Japan
      1. Social Problems as the Historical Background of Eugenics
      2. Sterilization as a Means of Negative Eugenics
      3. Physician Boeters’ Activities for Legislating Sterilization
      4. Prussian Sterilization Draft Bill
      5. Eugenic Racism of Adolf Hitler
      6. Nazi Sterilization Law
      7. National Eugenic Law in Japan
      8. In Postwar Japan
  Part III  Implementation of Eugenics in Japan
Chapter 7 Eugenics: Its Spread and Decline
      1. The Emergence of Eugenics in the Development of Modern Japanese Hygiene
      2. The Heyday of Eugenics
      3. Reconsidering Nagai Hisomu: Enthusiasm for Eugenics and Enlightenment Activities
      4. Eugenic Ideas in Postwar Health and Education and the Decline of Eugenics
      Cocluding Remarks
Chapter 8 Eugenics and Minorities
      1. Hansen’s Disease Patients
      2. Burakumin
      3. Ainu
      4. Prostitutes
      In Conclusion
Chapter 9 Eugenics and Hansen’s Disease Patients
      1. Sterilization
      2. Skeletal Specimens
      3. Physical Constitution
      4. Fetal Specimens
      5. Eugenic Protection Law
Chronology of Eugenics in Japan


Chūman Mitsuko: Professor, Seinan Gakuin University, Department of Human
Sciences, Division of Social Welfare...Chapter7
Fujino Yutaka: Professor, Keiwa College (Niigata), Department of Literature,
Division of Intercultural Studies...Chapters8, 9
Kawashima Sachio: Emeritus Professor Seinan Gakuin University, Department of
Law, Division of International Relations Law...Chapters3, 6
Kitagaki Tōru: Professor, Seinan Gakuin University, Department of Literature,
Division of Foreign Languages, French Course...Chapter2
Schaffner, Karen J.: Professor, Seinan Gakuin University, Department of Intercultural
Studies...Prologue, Introduction, Chapters4, 5, Epilogue
Yamazaki Kiyoko: Professor, Seinan Gakuin University, Department of Human
Sciences, Division of Social Welfare...Chapter1


Eugenics in Japan

Eugenics in Japan

Eugenics and its place in the modernizat…


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