For Your Information

A Uniquely Japanese Document: The Mother and Child Health Handbook
Researched By Cornelia [4 June 1999]

boshi techo

(Though I heard they have something similar in Korea. There also exist variations in Thailand, Indonesia and Holland.)

What is a Boshi Techo and why do I need one?
The Mother and Child Health Handbook, [Boshi Techo] is a small booklet that will chronicle your pregnancy, your well-being, the birth, the well-being of the child and the immunization record of the child up to and including the age of six. In short, a child older than six does not really need one anymore. The handbook comes with some coupons for free wellness checks for the pregnant woman and also for the child after it is born. Without the book, presumably the child can not get the immunizations for free. In this sense the handbook is mandatory. Upon entering primary school in Japan, the information in the Boshi Techo is transferred onto the child's student health card, at which point the Boshi Techo becomes an old record to be kept but never really used again.

Here is a sample pregnancy registration form with English translation courtesy of the Bunkyo-ku City Hall. It is a full page so click here to see it.

bi-lingual version

There is a bi-lingual version, Mother and Child Health Handbook, published by the Bureau of Public Health, Tokyo Municipal Government. Normally these handbooks are issued to a prospective mother when she registers her pregnancy at the municipal office. For those of you who do not have a Boshi Techo for each child, for example if your child was not born in Japan, a handbook can be obtained when registering a child at the municipal office for the dependent's alien registration card. It may also be possible to obtain a Boshi Techo at the local Health office. A non-registered alien can also register a pregnancy and obtain a handbook. The child is still entitled to immunizations according to the Child Bill of Rights.

The notarized handbook is the official one. Despite what some of us have been told, at the time of birth you may choose to have the bi-lingual one notarized instead of the Japanese one. These details are somewhat up to the discretion of your local government office. If your child is still in need of immunizations, then a handbook should be obtained and notarized (at the municipal office).

If your local ward office does not have your language in stock, then you can go directly to the source: tel: 03-5320-4372 Boshi Hokenka Office (Mother and Child Healthcare section of the Bureau of Public Health, Tokyo Municipal Government)

JOICFP version

For people living outside Tokyo there are English only, Maternal and Child Health Handbook of Japan , and Chinese only versions published by the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning, Inc. (JOICFP), delivered upon request. The fee is 920 yen plus 180 yen for postage which you can pay at the post office after you have received the handbook. (We are not sure it can be used as an official document since it is not in Japanese. We are checking.)

Main telephone number: 03-3268-5875
For ordering the Handbook:
Tel: 03-3268-3150 Fax: 03-3235-9776
Hoken Kaikan Shinkan
1-10 Ichigaya Tamachi, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo 162-0843

This handbook is published under the supervision of Maternal and Child Health Division, Children and Families Bureau, Ministry of Health and Welfare.
To learn more about JOICFP: (Japanese) (English)

7 April 2003 -- from Dianne Suzuki, Ibaraki-ken, living in Japan for over 10 years
Your article states that the boshi techo is not needed (technically) once the child enrols in school. It IS necessary however to show the boshi techo when you apply for a Japanese passport for your child.
Cornelia: So true Diane. The document is an official document and should not be thrown away. I only recently learned that it was needed by a single mother when the father decided to complete the "acceptance of paternity" procedure seven years after the birth of the child. The boshi techo with the red seal in it is like your child's ID card! I did not understand this when I originally wrote this article.

Related links:

Japan With Kids - Forums: Health Topics: Immunizations
Japan With Kids - Forums: Immigration/visas/re-entry permits: Baby born in Japan -- now what?

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