Departmental Bulletin Paper 江戸時代後期の堕胎・間引きについての実状と子ども観(生命観)
The Lives of Children and the Conditions of Abortion and Infanticide in the Late Edo Period
The Lives of Children and the Conditions of Abortion and Infanticide in the Late Edo Period

豊島, よし江

Description
本研究の目的は、江戸時代の人口調節としての間引き・堕胎の実態、また通過儀礼としての産育習俗から見た日本の子育て、日本人の子ども観について文献を通して考察することである。歴史を通して見えてきたのは「堕胎・間引き」は全国的に慣習として存在したこと。堕胎法としては子宮収縮作用のある植物を用いる・冷水に浸かるなどであった。間引き法としては濡紙を口に当てる、手で口をふさぐなどの直接的なものとネグレクトなど間接的方法があった。これらの根底には貧しさがあり、親たちが生きるためのやむにやまれぬ選択であった。そして、そこには「7歳までは神の領域に属するもの」として「子どもを神に返す」という古来の日本人の精神があった。また、七五三に見られる通過儀礼は、子どもが無事に生まれ、無事に育つことの困難な時代にあって不安定な時期を乗り越えた節目の儀礼であった。そこには生まれた子どもを慈しんだ日本人の英知と祈りがあった。
The purpose of this research is to investigate the actual conditions of infanticide and abortion as methods for population control during the late Edo Period; the customs of giving birth to and raising a child which Japan viewed as rites of passage; and an outlook on Japanese children. Looking back at history, we have found that abortion and infanticide existed as a custom all throughout Japan. Abortion methods such as soaking in ice cold water and using plants in order to cause the womb to shrink were used. As for infanticide, methods such as putting wet paper on the mouth, more direct acts such as covering the mouth with a hand, and indirect methods such as neglect were used. The use of these methods was essentially a result of poverty and was an inevitable choice for parents. The ancient Japanese spiritual belief that the child belonged to the domain of god until age seven also meant that they were returning the child to god. Furthermore, the rite of passage of Shichigosan (when children age 7, 5, and 3 visit a shrine) was a critical rite of passage that proved the overcoming of an unstable era in which giving birth to and raising children was a hardship. Within this custom was the wisdom and prayers of Japanese people who loved the child to which they gave birth.Keywords: Late Edo Period, abortion, infanticide, a stance on children (a stance on life)
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