By Kathleen S. Uno
Strains the early twentieth-century upward push of eastern day-care facilities.
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Additional info for Passages to Modernity: Motherhood, Childhood, and Social Reform in Early Twentieth Century Japan
32 School authorities excused Taima’s failure as an apprentice, instead lauding his conduct at home and at school, including his work as a baby-sitter. 33 Multiple Caregivers in Elite Households Family members besides mothers cared for infants and toddlers on a daily basis in ordinary rural and urban households; nonmaternal care was also widespread in wealthy households. In rich households, however, the alternate caregivers were hired child baby-sitters, wet nurses, nannies, or apprentices rather than other family members.
The advice books admonished young brides to serve their in-laws faithfully, to practice frugality and modesty, and to learn to manage household and servants well, but they scarcely mentioned the responsibilities of motherhood. 34 Some popular Confucian-influenced writings advised households on how best to educate children. These tracts commonly warned “fathers and elder brother” ( fukei) or “fathers and mothers” ( fubo) to take care to choose a suitable tutor for the child. 35 Women did in fact play important roles in child care as wet nurses, nannies, baby-sitters, and mothers, but notions of female inferiority precluded strong female authority over child-rearing and, at least in theory, argued against allowing women the major role caring for children.
Caring for her children was an indulgence. One young girl recalled that her mother had to be deliberately cool toward her children so that they would go to her mother-in-law or sister-in-law for attention. As a result, the girl came to look upon her mother as a cold, forbidding person. One day, when she was three or four years old, she watched her mother weeping after being tormented by her in-laws. Seeing the child, her mother called her to her side, but the little girl was afraid to go to her.
Passages to Modernity: Motherhood, Childhood, and Social Reform in Early Twentieth Century Japan by Kathleen S. Uno