Japanese Boys' Clothes: Work

Figure 1.-- This 19th century albumen photograph was described in the Kimbei catalog as 'Sailor boys Yokohama Harbour' Kimbei was a noted Japanese photographer operating in Yokahama. I am not sure what is meant by 'sailior boys'. We would have thought that these boys would have been more likely to work on the pier than as sailor boys.

Most Japanese children until the late-19th century worked. Only aristocratic children, mostly boys, were educated in schools. Here or information is limited, but most children worked. And because the country was larfely agricultural, most boys worked in the fields with their fathers. Other boys learned trades at the side of their father, After the Meiji Restoration and the end of the Shiogunate (1867), the new Imperial Government founded a European-sty;le education system (1870s). Gradually compulsory attendance laws and child labor laws began restricting child labor. This was at first primarily implemnented in urban areas. We do not have details on child labor in the 19th and early-20th century. We believe that child labor was extensive, especially in rural areas. One report indicates, "In 1894, Japan exported 50 million pounds of tea, three-fourths of which came to the United States .... The labor of picking of this immense crop is performed largely by children ..." Japan's post-World War II democratic constitution bans child labor (Article 27).


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Created: 5:24 AM 7/4/2010
Last updated: 5:24 AM 7/4/2010