Onna chōhōki was a bestselling practical guide for women published in Japan in the late seventeenth century. This article translates volume three, concerning pregnancy and childbirth. It covers the whole period from first suspicion of childbirth to early childcare, and briefly describes childhood rituals. The advice can be divided into two broad categories: practical advice on diet, behaviour, and medications, and descriptions of customary rituals that should be performed on certain occasions. It also includes a significant amount of information on fortune telling for a child’s future, and a number of charms for such things as increasing the flow of milk. While it does include a list of the Buddhas who watch over the foetus, the contents are overwhelmingly practical and secular in character, with very little discussion of moral issues.
Berry, Mary Elizabeth (2006): Japan in Print: Information and Nation in the Early Modern Period. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Fukuda Masato 福田真人 (1990): Kekkaku No Bunkashi 結核の文化史. Nagoya: Nagoya daigaku shuppankai.
Kornicki, Peter (1998): The Book in Japan: A Cultural History from the Beginnings to the Nineteenth Century. Leiden: Brill.
Kornicki, Peter (2010): “Women, Education, and Literacy”. In: The Female as Subject: Reading and Writing in Early Modern Japan. Edited by P. F. Kornicki, Mara Patessio and G. G. Rowley. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Japanese Studies, The University of Michigan, 7–37.
Lindsey, William R. (2007): Fertility and Pleasure: Ritual and Sexual Values in Tokugawa Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.
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