This article examines Mishima Michiyoshi 三島通良 (1866–1925) and his school hygiene 学校衛生 research in relation to the significance of posture to physical and political modernity in Meiji Japan. Investigating Mishima's nationwide survey of primary-school children's health and physical development in Japan and subsequent contested discussions of children's posture, the article explores how new kinds of Japanese physique were envisioned by medical experts and state authorities. The postures of the schoolchildren were viewed as reflections of Japan's developing modernity in a variety of forms. Different theories contended, and a range of visions of a modern civilization was advanced, some of which had an influence on theories and practices of hygienic modernity even into the twenty-first century.

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