Accepted Paper:

Biological and cultural aspects of the early modern Japanese from the dental anthropological viewpoint.  


Eisaku Kanazawa (School of Dentistry at Matsudo, Nihon University)

Paper short abstract:

Dental materials excavated from the archaeological site in early modern period in downtown Tokyo demonstrated not only biological features of the people being different from those in other periods, but also cultural aspects prevailed in Edo such as the use of primitive dental care tools.

Paper long abstract:

Skeletal materials including teeth were excavated from Keianji temple, Ikenohata, Ueno in Tokyo, the former Japanese capital Edo from 1603 to 1866. The archaeological site was the graveyard, in which two types of coffins such as wooden coffins and ceramic coffins were identified. The wooden coffin was utilized mainly by the townsman. On the other hand, the lower-middle class of samurai, as hatamoto or hanshi was buried in the ceramic coffin depending on their higher income and social status. Some of the craniofacial and dental measurements of the materials were different between these two groups of the people probably because of the environmental factors such as dietary habit or working posture. Observation of the teeth also revealed that dental care, oral habits and pathological cases were also different in these people. Tooth polishing sand and tooth brush called "fusayouji" began to be used in Edo era. Because these tools were relatively expensive, they were not extensively prevailed in the townsman class. Polished surfaces by using the tooth brush was significantly more in the higher samurai class than in the townsman class. The traces of "ohaguro" which was a curious custom of dyeing teeth black for married women. This custom was also differently found between these two groups. Thus the dental anthropological study confirmed that there was a dual structure of the society or the population in Edo from the biological and cultural point of view.

Panel P129
Evolution of human cultures: towards an integrated anthropology of modern humans (CLOSED)