Children and the Fate of Ever-Married Men and Women in Early Modern Japan

Satomi Kurosu, Reitaku University

What did it mean to have children or not to have children in a society with a strong emphasis on family continuation? How did the sex and number of children affect the chances of marital dissolution and remarriage? This study examines the outcomes of marriage focusing particularly on the role of children as an attempt to uncover the relationship between marriage and reproduction in a stem family society. Drawing data from the local population registers in two northeastern agricultural villages during the period of 1716-1870, this study examines the effect of children on the probabilities of divorce and remarriage. The event history analysis reveals that controlling for demographic and socioeconomic factors, having children secured marriage although infertility was not the cause of divorce. The presence of children also mattered differently for the probabilities of remarriage of men and women, and by the types of marraige---virilocal and uxorilocal marriages.

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Presented in Session 175: Marital Relationships and Children: Historical Perspectives