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  • Growing Up Manly: Male Samurai Childhood in Late Edo-Era Tosa

    Luke S. Roberts

    Chapter from the book: Frühstück S. & Walthall A. 2017. Child’s Play: Multi-Sensory Histories of Children and Childhood in Japan.


    The social construction of male samurai childhood aimed at producing sons who would maintain the family’s hereditary status and economic class by being good, capable, and respectable. In order to go beyond a narrative that reproduces children simply as the objects of adult action, this chapter, by Luke Roberts, explores the rules of emotional expression and how they changed as children grew up. Based on memoirs and diaries, it examines the markers that defined the stages in a child’s growth to his coming of age; threats to a child’s survival, from infanticide to disease and beriberi and lead poisoning; training in self-denial and self-control as well as literacy and the martial arts; relations with peers, including rowdy gangs and same-sex intimacy; and emotional restraint in relations with women.

    How to cite this chapter
    Roberts, L. 2017. Growing Up Manly: Male Samurai Childhood in Late Edo-Era Tosa. In: Frühstück S. & Walthall A (eds.), Child’s Play. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.40.c

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Additional Information

    Published on Oct. 10, 2017