Japan Anthropology Part I

It can be said that the knowledge of the somatology (or anthropometry, as a metric study of external characters) of the Japanese is less advanced than that of their anatomy. In fact, this can be said of all possible racial anatomies the most developed after the European one, or, better, after the anatomy of the European racial complex, since an anatomy of the single European races is still to come, which we believe would also be very interesting. in many practical respects (constitution, special morbidity, etc.). Given the most modern conception of physical anthropology, as a comparative morphology of human races and not as a simple study of external characters, it is also necessary in what follows to give some details of Japanese anatomy.

According to CLOTHINGEXPRESS, the most recent studies of Japanese palethnologists and paleontologists, and, above all, those of H. Matsumoto, have highlighted how the racial framework of Japan has been, even in times, geologically speaking, very close to us as the Neolithic can be, very different from what it is in the present age. It is therefore necessary to speak first of all of the characters of the current Japanese. The most frequent type of facial physiognomy is undoubtedly what we have said elsewhere Mongolian (see physiognomy: XV, pp. 492 and 495), whose most striking note is the presence of the so-called Mongolian fold. But there are not rare types that are quite different, and already E. Baelz, from whose work we can still draw a great deal, spoke in 1885 of the airy physiognomies of the Hebrew type. This type, according to Baelz, would be more frequent in the aristocracy, where we find the so-called fine type, which will be discussed elsewhere. Europoid faces are often found in photographs of Japan’s most eminent statesmen and generals. These aberrant characters of the common Mongoloid type are now better explained as persistence of ancient ethnic substrates (see below). However, we must immediately remember how Weidenreich explains them as constitutional differences, above all for the characteristics of the nose, which is longer, narrower and more prominent. However, this explanation seems very dubious. The general body structure is rather robust and vigorous, both for a sensitive value of the transversal dimensions of the shoulders, chest and hips, and for the sensitive volume of the extremities. Furthermore, the dominance of the trunk over the legs contributes a lot to the rather massive appearance, in comparison with the average European type. The development of the subcutaneous fatty tissue is, according to Baelz, normal. The sexual dimorphism, that is the differentiation of the sexes in the external aspect, is rather scarce, in comparison of the Europeans. According to the tables published by J. Deniker, 20,000 Japanese, aged between 15 and 60, would give an average height of 1,577 meters. Instead 13,859 soldiers aged 23 and a half would offer a much higher average, that is m. 1.637. This stature would therefore not be much below the general average of humanity (1.65). Baelz stated that in the upper classes the stature is higher than in the lower classes and that the maximum height is reached around the 35th-40th year of age: 173 women of the upper and middle classes gave Baelz (who was an obstetrician) a average of m. 1.47; 69 working class women m. 1.45; these women ranged in age from 18 to 50 years. The period of the most intense somatic development would close, according to Baelz, earlier in the Japanese than in the Europeans. In women, sexual maturity (menstruation) most often begins between 13 and 15 years of age. The average weight of 1000 individuals of the upper and middle classes was kg. 55.6. Contrary to what happens in Europe, Baelz found that the average weight of the lower classes is higher. At equal height the average weight of the Japanese would be stronger than that of the European; what confirms the already noted massive aspect of the Japanese.

Regarding the proportions and first of all the length of the trunk with respect to the stature, no data were accessible that would allow comparison with those given in the now classic tables of V. Giuffrida-Ruggeri, as these are based on the height of the trunk taken in the sitting position. The Baelz data refer to the height from the ground of the greater trochanter of the femur (see somatology), i.e. they target the length of the lower limb. Among the males of the fine type Baelz found a length of 804 mm., Which makes a ratio to the height of 49.6; among the students the same measures are 781 and 48.5; among workers 812 and 50. Among Europeans the index varies from 50 to 52 being the average European type mesatischele. For women the Baelz gives these figures: end type 765 and 50; medium type 720 and 49; massive type 710 and 49.2. Among other groups of average women, the averages would be even lower. Individually in these other groups he even found the index of 42. The index of height of bifurcation of the legs that the Quetelet gives, for the European woman, in 46.6, in a Japanese woman of the extreme type was 36. It is placed therefore beyond any doubt the small development of the legs with respect to the trunk. But the arms are also very short. The ratio of the great opening of the arms to the height is according to the Baelz in 53 students and scientists: 102.2; workers: 102; 1000 soldiers: 102.6. Women have even lower values, so that in the female sex the large opening is often smaller than the stature. Generally in humanity, according to the tables of the treatise of F. Martin, the averages do not pass 109, but also Europeans have values ​​that extend up to this figure. However, the value presented by the Japanese is all the more important, as the relative width of the shoulders is sensitive in them and close to the maximum values ​​of humanity. It is therefore beyond doubt that the Japanese have some of the smallest length values ​​of the upper limb. Baelz says that the trunk has a vertebral column with little pronounced curvatures, especially the lumbar curvature; in other words, the Japanese have a scarce heeling of the loins which makes the shapes of certain European races and many Negroes so quick.

Japan Anthropology 1


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