Filling Gaps in Japanese Historical Demography: Marriage, Fertility and Households in Nineteenth-Century Rural Japan

Satomi Kurosu, Reitaku University

This study estimates nuptiality and fertility among peasants in nineteenth-century Japan and assesses their relationship to household organization and regional economic development. The own-children method of fertility is applied to the large cross-sectional data drawn from two regions: 1870 household registers of 35 villages in Tama (west of Tokyo) and religious investigations of 54 village years scattered over 1857-1869 in Echizen (current Fukui). Despite the different levels, both regions share similar patterns towards the end of the nineteenth century: the age at marriage increased; the gap between TFR and TMFR increased; and despite of the fluctuations of fertility rates due to cholera and social upheavals, there appears a sustainable increase in fertility rates in both regions. The study aims to explain gaps of understanding in current Japanese historical demography regarding the population development on the eve of industrialization, and the role of household organization in regional variation of demographic behaviors.

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Presented in Session 168: Historical Transitions and Demographic Responses