Over the twentieth century, Japan had transformed from an overpopulated, “Yellow Peril” in the world to a depopulated, “Declining Empire.” This talk introduces the historical, social, and geopolitical background that led to this swift demographic transition—a process that occurred over centuries in Western countries. In particular, the talk will pay special attention to the role that the Eugenic Protection Law of 1948 played in bringing together Japanese bureaucrats, American leaders, and the Japanese public to form a population policy that went directly against the government’s wartime pronatalism. The talk illuminates how eugenic theories and nationalist/imperialist ideologies shaped population policies and reproductive patterns in Japan. Japan’s example of demographic transition informed policy-makers and intellectuals in the postwar battle against global overpopulation, especially in Asia.
Bio of the Speaker:
Dr. Aiko Takeuchi-Demirci is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Koç University. As of November 2019, she is appointed Co-Director of Koç University Center for Asian Studies (KUASIA) along with Dr. Burak Gürel. She has a BA/MA from the University of Tokyo, and MA/PhD in American Studies from Brown University. Her book, Contraceptive Diplomacy: Reproductive Politics and Imperial Ambitions in the United States and Japan, was published by Stanford University Press in 2018.
This seminar is also part of the Sociology Talk Series organized by the College of Social Sciences and Humanities.