Constructing Individual-Level Longitudinal Data for Japanese Historical Population: Challenges and Opportunities

Satomi Kurosu, Reitaku University
Hao Dong, Peking University
Miyuki Takahashi, Rissho University
Akira Hayami, Reitaku University

The construction of individual-level longitudinal data for early modern Japan is opening up arrays of possibilities for investigating the demographic behavior of commoners in the Tokugawa era (1603-1868). Japanese historical demography has come a long way since Akira Hayami’s application of the method of family reconstitution to a Japanese household register in the late 1960s. In this paper, we discuss the developmental phases of Japanese longitudinal data: How Hayami’s collection of historical records---Shumon/Ninbetsu Aratame-cho (religious/population survey during Tokugawa era), those which he called “treasure of humankind,” were transcribed, put into a format linking manually annual individual/household information, were digitized in various databases, and finally put together into a multigenerational database. In particular, recent progress in data expansion and data-driven research have substantively improved our ability to not just study population and family history in early modern Japan, but also to compare with other East Asian and European populations, as well as to contribute to other social and natural science disciplines. Since 2015, more than one thousand hundred life histories are in progress linked for over 50 villages. In some villages, we are able to follow up to 8 generations for lineages spanning 1716-1870. We review the data by examining linkage and some basic statistics, discuss its strength and how it could advance the understanding of people's lives through the analysis of behavior and organization of individuals, married couples, and households.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 113. Development of Longitudinal Historical Data