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  • For the Love of Children: Practice, Affect, and Subjectivities in Hirata Atsutane’s Household

    Anne Walthall

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


    In the emotional community of late Edo Japan inhabited by Hirata Atsutane and other devotees of Japanese nativism, children were seen as treasures, as gifts from the gods. For the sake of family continuity, they became the objects of appropriate childhood rituals, and they were inculcated with the skills and character appropriate to their status. Drawing on diaries and letters, this chapter, by Anne Walthall, examines the process of maturation for girls and boys, the fluidity of the child category, and instances of gender and birth inequality. It uncovers evidence for the love of children, especially the emotional bonds between grandparents or parents and children—the affect at play in the family game and how adoption might complicate these bonds. Finally, it turns to subjective visions of childhood registered by adults and recorded many years later.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Walthall, A. 2017. For the Love of Children: Practice, Affect, and Subjectivities in Hirata Atsutane’s Household. In: Frühstück S. & Walthall A (eds.), Child’s Play. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.40.d

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    Published on Oct. 10, 2017