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Balancing Family Strategies with Individual Choice: Name Changing in Early Modern Japan

Mary Louise Nagata
Japan Review
No. 11 (1999), pp. 145-166
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25791040
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Balancing Family Strategies with Individual Choice: Name Changing in Early Modern Japan
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Abstract

In this paper I use names and name changing as a tool for gauging intention and acceptance in the relation between families and potential heirs. My previous research has shown a strong relation between naming patterns, family membership and heir choice, or inheritance, making this a convenient tool. I use data from two villages for this analysis: Shimomoriya in northeastern Japan and Nishijō in central Japan. The two villages are both small agricultural villages with no industry and families in these two villages place similar value on family continuity typical of the Tokugawa period (1600-1868), but their inheritance practices differ. My findings suggest that differences in the political, social and economic environments of the villages change the range of choices available to individuals and therefore influence family strategies of inheritance to ensure survival. This leads me to further suggest that social change may be the result of changes in the environment shaping the range of choices available to individuals and which choices may seem more attractive. この論文で二つの村の命名と改名パ夕ーンを個人の意向と家族の受け入れの代理として便う。それで相続形態を比較しながら考え直す。分析資料として東北農村二本松藩下守屋村の人御改帳と濃尾地方西条村の宗門人別改帳を使う。この二つの農村は色々の面で似ている。農産業のみの小村で、しかも出稼ぎが多い。村の制度は多少違つても、やはり家族の存続は生き残るための大事な条件であつて、長男が最も好ましい相続人であつた。しかし、結果として相続形態は違う。著者は村外の経済発展の違いにより個人の選択の運いから生まれたのではないかと論述する。

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