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Registration and RecognitionDocumenting the Person in World History$
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Keith Breckenridge and Simon Szreter

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265314

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265314.001.0001

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Japan’s Civil Registration Systems Before and After the Meiji Restoration

Japan’s Civil Registration Systems Before and After the Meiji Restoration

(p.113) 4 Japan’s Civil Registration Systems Before and After the Meiji Restoration
Registration and Recognition

Osamu Saito

Masahiro Sato

British Academy

This chapter traces the evolution of Japan's systems of household and land registration from c.1600 to the period of early Meiji reforms in the 1870s and 1880s, with due attention to the distinction between a system designed by the state and local forms of registration practice. In the section on the pre-Meiji period, one such local practice of having people ‘disowned’ and its consequence — registerlessness — is examined. The section on the Meiji reforms and the section that follows turn to the issue of continuity and discontinuity, and the question of whether any progress was made by those reforms. In order to illustrate the actual changes that took place at the local level, the chapter begins with an eighteenth-century story about a peasant woman and ends with a case of a family dispute that another village woman brought before the court some 120 years later.

Keywords:   disowning, household registration, land registration, Meiji reforms, registerless, village practice

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