Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form


KIM, JUNG HUI (2018) RELIGION, POLITICS, AND GENDER: CHILDBIRTH IMAGES IN EDO JAPAN. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

This is the latest version of this item.

[img] PDF
Restricted to University of Pittsburgh users only until 28 June 2023.

Download (1MB) | Request a Copy


This dissertation explores birth imagery in Edo Japan (1608-1868) by focusing on how cultural and socio-political conditions affect the ways of representing childbirth. Traditionally, birth scenes printed in jokunsho (女訓書, female educational books) have been regarded simply as supplementary illustrations that record visual aspects of birth practices. As the first comprehensive study of this subject, my dissertation provides a detailed visual analysis of the iconographical changes in birth scenes, which places Edo birth imagery in the socio-historical context in which it was produced. Central to the discussion are two iconographic issues. First, from the medieval to Edo periods, the emphasis in birth scenes shifted from the moment of giving birth to the post-partum care. Second, the mother figure as a central player in birthing events gradually disappeared from later Edo birth imagery; and the scene of the infant’s first bath took center stage. By taking an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates studies of religion, demography, gender, and visual culture, my dissertation demonstrates that such specific transformations are closely associated with political, ideological and cultural factors, such as the foundation of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the promotion of Confucian ideology, population crisis and the regulation of local government over birthing bodies, and the enactment of the Kansei reforms and the reinforcement of conservative cultural policy. Through these in-depth analyses, this dissertation addresses three main research questions: how birth imagery represents the diverse social values invested in the event of childbirth, how the shift of cultural paradigms changes the way of depicting childbirth, and how birth imagery shapes people’s perception of childbirth and actively functions as a means to promote the authority of ideology.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
KIM, JUNG HUIjuk29@pitt.edujuk29
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGerhart,
Committee MemberLinduff,
Committee MemberMcCloskey,
Committee MemberGabriella,
Date: 28 June 2018
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 March 2018
Approval Date: 28 June 2018
Submission Date: 12 April 2018
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 193
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: childbirth, birth imagery, jokunsho, Edo period, mother image, birth scene
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2018 15:24
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2018 15:24

Available Versions of this Item

  • RELIGION, POLITICS, AND GENDER: CHILDBIRTH IMAGES IN EDO JAPAN. (deposited 28 Jun 2018 15:24) [Currently Displayed]


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item