Kansatsu - The Observation (Japanese Edition)

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From Parlor Prison to Home Confinement in the Edo Period
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Acting as the guardians of the public peace in unprecedented ways, the Metropolitan Police Office of Tokyo, established in in the Home Ministry, began managing many aspects of daily life in the new capital city. Although technically responsible for security maintenance only in Tokyo, the Metropolitan Police Office quickly became the model for police systems in other prefectures. The nearly 6, newly recruited patrolmen were assigned a broad range of duties, from supervising commercial activities and conducting population counts to preserving public morals and compiling information on residents of each neighborhood.

No other security institution in Japan had ever been as large or as far-reaching. The police carried out paternalistic measures of preventive policing, recording and punishing ordinary people's customs and habits for the sake of stifling social unrest Umemori As caretakers of the people, the Metropolitan Police Office took over the administration of the private home confinement of those considered mad in the s. Its foremost concern was maintenance of the public peace during a time of regime change and therefore the ability to distinguish between various forms of social disturbance, whether mental illness or crime.

Keishi Ruiju Kisoku , 9. The language used to describe the status of the mad and their confinement also shifted.

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The use of forceful constraints, whether iron chains or ropes, was prohibited, as was the placement of flammable materials near the room. Families were subject to fines if they did not follow the terms of the ordinance. Although the content of the various prefectural ordinances was more or less the same, the language used to describe the mentally unsound person or the practice of home confinement, as well as the procedure of attaining permission for either home or institutional confinement, was not yet uniform.

The Custody Law shifted the locus of decision-making power for cases of confinement from the family-household-village nexus of the Edo period to the newly created figure of the legal custodian. This law required that each mentally unsound person be assigned a custodian, usually the household head, who assumed all legal and financial responsibility for the patient.

Whereas in the Edo period any member of the patient's family could petition local authorities to confine or release a person, the Custody Law allowed only the legal custodian to authorize the confinement of the afflicted person, whether at home in a cage-like enclosure or in one of the newly built public or private psychiatric hospitals. In the case that a competent custodian could not be found, the city or prefectural administrative head would serve as the acting custodian.

The Custody Law also explained the fines and punishment for wrongful confinement, that is, confinement without the approval of local authorities or with falsified documents. The Custody Law and the new emphasis on the figure of the legal custodian were not created by the police, families, or psychiatrists, but by legal scholars and Diet members seeking to establish a modern legal system in Japan. The resulting Custody Law, much like the Civil Code, subsumed such rights under the concept of familial custodianship. In what amounted to a reinforcement of the idea that the household was the primary unit of society, the mentally disturbed were placed in the custody of their families, the assumption being that the family was the natural locus of care and surveillance.

ポヨポヨ観察日記 1 [Poyo Poyo Kansatsu Nikki 1]

The Custody Law reinforced an ideology enshrined in the Civil Code, namely the unquestionable authority of the patriarch and the social function of the family as guardian of social order. Yet the passage of a national custody law rooted in Meiji ideological and legal discourses of the family did not significantly change actual practices of confinement. The procedure of attaining permission to construct cage-like rooms remained more or less the same across prefectures, despite the replacement of village officials with the police as the main public agents in charge.

For families living with home confinement, the regulations detailed in the Custody Law were bureaucratic matters that required attention, but they had a minimal effect on everyday life, where it did not always matter whether the legal custodian was the patriarch of the family since the labor and emotions of care were shared among members both inside and outside the family.

Reasons for confinement also remained more or less the same across the Edo-Meiji divide. Based on such experiences of violence and disruption, families formed social understandings of madness and treatment that new Meiji psychiatrists would aim to counter. Psychiatry as a medical science was first established in Japan as part of government efforts to improve the health of its citizens through the construction of a modern medical and public health system. Beginning in the early s, central and local government officials began to build medical schools and institute a system of state licensing, legally elevating Western medicine over traditional forms of medical practice.

They hired German physicians to work in universities and hospitals in cities like Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya, and Tokyo. In , Erwin Baelz became the first physician hired to give lectures on psychiatry in the Department of Medicine at what would later become Tokyo Imperial University. The government also encouraged medical students to study psychiatry in Germany and Austria. In , the Ministry of Education dispatched Sakaki Hajime, a recent graduate of the new Department of Medicine, to study psychiatry in Berlin and tour state-supported asylums in Germany and Austria.

Upon returning in , Sakaki was named the first chair in psychiatric medicine at Tokyo University Medical School and the founding director of the Tokyo Public Asylum. Kure's report belonged to a broader, global development at the turn of the twentieth century: the visual and numerical documentation of people and places considered socially and geographically peripheral or colonial through such new technologies of mass representation as photography and film.

Kure and his fellow psychiatrists focused on the rural Japanese countryside, the site of most cases of home confinement. New urban professionals such as psychiatrists and other Western-trained doctors viewed the countryside as a repository of harmful superstitions and customs. Yet the civilizing mission of the psychiatrists involved inciting other urban professionals and state bureaucrats to action, rather than blaming rural families for the cruelties of home confinement.

In their content, the photographs of home confinement varied widely. Some captured the hunched figures of the confined see figure 2 ; others highlighted structural features such as the doors, hinges, and padlocks of rooms. Still others resembled portraits with the faces and shoulders of the confined at the center of the images. Figure 2. Example 7, Photograph 4 in Kure and Kashida b. Consider Photograph 32, in which a confined man peers out from behind the bars of his wooden cage see figure 3.

The viewer's eye is led to focus immediately on the man's face at the center of the image, framed by four hefty vertical logs and two thin horizontal rods.

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His gaze feels startlingly direct in part due to its position in the center of the image. In contrast, in an unpublished version of the photograph, the one from which Photograph 32 was likely created, the viewer's attention is drawn not to the man's face, which is no longer in the center, but to the point at which the wooden bars on two sides of the cage meet at the bottom-right corner see figure 4.

Kure, Kashida, or another assistant cropped Photograph 32 so that it was the same size as the other photographs in the report and eliminated the tilt in the unpublished photograph that lent it a casual, unscientific air. Both versions, along with the report's many other images of the confined behind bars, reinforce a sense of the distance between viewer and viewed.

The confined man's fingers lightly grasp the wooden post, his head pressed between parallel posts, making viewers aware of the wooden bars acting as a barrier. Here in the images of the wooden cages, the extent of such access remains ambiguous. Figure 3. Example 53, Photograph 32 in Kure and Kashida b. Figure 4. Other images in the report, including floor plans and hand-drawn illustrations, were standardized for the sake of uniformity and legibility.

Like the photographs, the floor plans varied widely in content, depending on the individual observing psychiatrist or the police records available to him. Some included only basic information about the location of the confinement room inside the house, while others featured precise locations of kitchens, bathrooms, doors, main rooms, and storage areas as well as landmarks such as fields, streams, and gardens, showing the layout of the house and its surroundings.

Figure 5. Figure 6. Yet the hand at times provided more legibility than cameras. Some photographs collected by the team of psychiatrists were converted to hand-drawn illustrations. Although neither Kure nor Kashida mention the reason for converting photographs into drawings, it is likely that it made for increased legibility. The drawing contains fewer visual distractions than the photograph with its shadows that make certain parts indiscernible.

With little effort, the viewer can see the clear lines of a footbridge, dam, bay window, and beams. Eliminating the blurriness and shadows of the roof and eaves, the drawing sharpens the original photographic image. As a result, the house appears tidier. Window coverings are not bent out of shape, as in the photograph, and the wooden barrier of the bay window is not worn-out.

In a pastoral style, the drawing romanticizes the countryside home with gentle shading and soft light. Although visual uniformity created the impression of a detached and objective viewing experience, the composition and arrangement of images and text in Kure's report encouraged deep engagement.

In the case of a forty-two-year-old woman, a former instructor at the Prefectural Technical School who was confined after she hit her mother and broke household items, the photograph of her confinement room appeared alongside a detailed floor plan of the residence and explanatory text, the former helping to visualize descriptions in the latter two Kure and Kashida [] , 44—45; see figure 7. The floor plan indicates the spot from which the photograph was taken with a triangle symbol, allowing the viewer to place himself or herself in the position of the on-site observer.

The eyes travel back and forth from the photograph, floor plan, and text. The floor plan shows that the room was located inside a building attached to the main house on the east side. The text describes the wooden floor of the confinement room as having been covered with two rotten tatami mats stained with urine. The photograph shows the wooden bars of the enclosure, its measurements recorded in detail in the text, as well as the light streaming through windows in the back of the cage.

The various images in this case, combined with textual description, help spatialize the rooms and contextualize them within the broader space of the house. Figure 7. The arrangement of visual and textual materials highlighted the ways in which the confinement rooms were embedded in both domestic and public spaces. Three distinct but nested spaces come into view: the neighborhood or village, the home, and the confinement room. These spaces formed a concentric circle, with the confinement room occupying the center.

The three spaces were linked by their physical arrangement as well as through concrete, everyday experiences of families and neighbors, including the labor of care, the movement across spatial boundaries, and sensory contact. Family members went in and out of confinement rooms to feed, bathe, and spend time with their confined member. In one instance, the wife and children of a confined man tended to his care, washing him every morning, cleaning his room, taking him on walks every few days, bathing him twice a week, and keeping his clothes clean Kure and Kashida [] , 8.

By consulting the floor plan for this man's house while looking at the photograph of his wooden cage, the viewer learns that it is indeed a door on the side of the cage, propped open in the photograph. It swung open and shut many times throughout the day.

The caretakers who moved in and out of confinement rooms were largely female, even though many legal custodians were fathers, husbands, and sons. The father of a mentally unstable man in Nagano, confined for hitting family members, served as the legal custodian, but the observing medical student pointed out that most of his care was performed by his brother's wife, who left his soiled clothing and quilt out to dry during the day and returned it to the room at night clean Kure and Kashida [] , Twice a month she hired a laborer to bathe him and clean the room And a woman confined for wandering the streets of Nagano after her divorce was in the custody of her brother-in-law, although her younger sister provided most of her care, cleaning the room three times a month 69— As was the case for most forms of domestic caregiving, whether for the mentally or physically ill, the women of the family bore most of the burden.

The juxtaposition of photographs, drawings, floor plans, and text alerted viewers to the sights, sounds, and smells that crossed the wooden bars and iron locks of cages.

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Such sensory contact enmeshed spaces of confinement with those of domesticity. Many of the observing medical students and psychiatrists bemoaned the unhygienic conditions of confinement rooms, noting the lack of ventilation that intensified the stench of waste matter and, in the case of women, clothing and bedding stained with menstrual blood. Toilets were often not much more than holes in the ground, contributing to the odor emanating from the confinement area. The sounds of the sick reached the ears of family members and sometimes neighbors.

Some yelled when agitated, while others sang songs. Floor plans that graphically alert viewers to storage rooms and fields near the houses hint at how the demands of farming impinged upon the lives of the confined, linking together the labor of farm work and the labor of care. Most families needed all able-bodied members to help with the farm work and could not afford to lose a laboring hand to the supervision of the sick.

Tending to the confined person was labor-intensive. Few families fed and bathed their sick member regularly.

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