The state of infant health in Japan in recent times has been very poor, and because the infant mortality rate is said to be thirty-five times that of the United States, it is a truly astonishing situation and a grave problem that must be addressed as soon as possible. The cause must be discovered, but medical science looks for the reasons in the wrong places. The anticipated success is not achieved no matter how much effort is made.
Here I will explain my discovery of the cause for the poor health of infants. In my experience when I treated diseases in children, from infancy to about the age of five or six, patients from urban environments had an astonishingly weakened condition that differed noticeably from children raised in the countryside. Medical science explains that city air is poor, children have no place to play, and that transportation systems and noise all create a poor environment that aggravates the young nervous system. Children from rural areas are supposedly blessed with favorable surroundings, and these factors do indeed play a role, but the greatest reason for the poor health of infants is an aspect which people do not appreciate at all. Let me demonstrate the way I explained the point to mothers at the time I directly treated their sick infants and weak children. I started by asking them, “Is your child a Japanese, or is it a European?” Then, continuing, “Japanese children have ancestors who grew up and lived eating Japanese style food, but the Japanese children of today have suddenly started to eat Western food and are now being raised according to European standards. This is the reason they are weak,” I cautioned the mothers. What is most ridiculous, though, is that mothers do not give their children Japanese sweets. There appear to be some mothers who particularly dislike the traditional Japanese confection bean jam. When I asked them why they do not give their children bean jam, they answered that their doctors told them that bean jam should not be given to children because it can cause children’s dysentery (ekiri). I replied that this is most unreasonable, that red beans are very good for elimination when boiled and eaten. What could be wrong with refining them, making them into a liquid, and adding sugar? I further explained that doctors study Western medical books and translate them literally into Japanese, and because bean jam does not exist in the West, it is not mentioned. Therefore doctors say such things. Readers will nod in acknowledgement when they realize that the foods doctors say best for invalids are those which are readily available in the West, such as cow’s milk, oat meal, butter, apples, and potatoes.
As the Japanese child grows into adulthood, Western style foods can gradually be mixed into the diet, but I hereby declare on the basis of my many experiences that keeping Japanese children to a diet of Japanese style food between infancy and the age of five or six years is the most healthy.
Another statement that I can make from my experience is that injections too often given to children will result in arrested development, educational disabilities, presenting unstable, emaciation, wobbly necks, weakened constitutions, and anemia. Youngsters with these symptoms, if not given medicines for two or three years, will return to the healthy condition of any ordinary child.
The Divinely-Inspired Approach to Health, page 50, April 20, 1950
translation by cynndd