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The Urban Penalty of Infant Mortality in the Early 20th Century in Osaka

Sun, June 26, 1:00 to 2:50pm, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 113


The average infant mortality rate (IMR) was 155.4 in rural areas in Japan, and IMR in Osaka city was 231.6 from to 1910. The outstanding level of IMR in Osaka city might have been influenced by somewhat negative urban factors, which we can call the “urban penalty.” Dr. Hiroshi Maruyama set one month after birth as a boundary to divide endogenous and exogenous in 1938. The boundary shows a qualitative measure of infant mortality. Post neonatal mortality was increased due to acquired diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia and beriberi. Since this post neonatal mortality increased in Osaka, the effect of the urban penalty was raising. The neonatal mortality of the industrial zones shows that bad maternal conditions affected endogenous factors. Most mothers suffered from a deficiency of breast-feeding capability. The first reason was anemia. The second reason was mothers’ ignorance about breast-feeding. The third reason was mother’s illnesses. As many mothers in Osaka were unable to breastfeed their babies, they had to rely on bottle-feeding without any knowledge to handle artificial milk. When their babies suffered from malnutrition, they often died from diarrhea or pneumonia. Women’s labor issues might have contributed to the decreased rate of breastfeeding. In this research, we look at how working practices of young females in the factories may have negatively affected breastfeeding practices.