2004 Volume 71 Issue 4 Pages 399-409
By a rapid reduction in the number of births after World War II in Japan, the population transition was dramatically achieved from a high birth and low death to a low birth and low death. In this process, the concept of children had been changing, that is, from "endowed ones" to "produced and cherished ones". The aim of this paper is to study what the change of such a concept of children meant According to the study, the following points have become clear. 1) People came to desire fewer children to raise into "good ones". Consequently, their existence meant that they should be cherished and educated. The "good children" were also supposed to be in good health and do well at school. 2) People thought that a bright and happy home was fulfilled by having the "good children".Iln order to realize their hope, it was necessary for husband and wife to cooperate. 3) Such a concept of children, at the same time, supported a governmental man power policy in the early 1960's. The Japanese Government was still interested in the "quality" of population from the late 1940's to the early 1950's when quantitative control of population was proceeding because of population pressure. In the 1960's, when there was a reduction in the number of births, concern about the "quality" of population was argued under the issue of "improvement of population quality". In order to secure the good labor force which bore economic development. the government encouraged making a "good home" since it considered it a base for the man power policy, and claimed the necessity of home education by mothers. Each home, on the other hand, desired to make a "good home" by raising fewer children into"good ones". This man power policy and expectation of each home, therefore, agreed on the point of hoping for "good children".