The Ties that Bind: Adult Adoption and Family Formation in Japan, 1700-1925


ACLS Fellowship Program




“The Ties that Bind” is a social and cultural history of adoption in Japan from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. It focuses on the practice of adult adoption—in particular son-in-law (or husband) adoption, which has been more frequently and consistently practiced in Japan than anywhere else in the world. Although the practice of adult and son-in-law adoption remained common throughout the time period in question, the motives and meanings of such adoptions shifted dramatically in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The project explores why and how this shift occurred and examines its legal, social, and cultural ramifications across the early modern/modern divide.