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Neighborhood and Nation in Tokyo, 1905-1937
Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995
JS7385 .T63 A73 1995
This book addresses an important issue concerning a relatively little-known era in Japanese history: the shaping of Japan's modern political community prior to World War II. Contesting the view that prewar Japan pushed a conservative statist agenda, Sally Hastings argues that the state bureaucracy, particularly the Home Ministry, encouraged a more participatory political and cultural environment before 1937 than is generally believed. In this analysis of working-class areas of Tokyo, especially its Honjo ward, Hastings shows that bureaucrats were concerned with the needs of their citizens and took significant steps to protect the city's working families and the poor.
While prewar Japan did not have a democratic system, Hastings demonstrates that the public participated broadly in politics. Through organizations such as reservist groups, national youth leagues, and neighborhood organizations, Japanese citizens received a political education in modern state citizenship. And with expanding suffrage and growing workplace organization, ordinary people were given opportunities to participate in an expanding political community.
Neighborhood and Nation in Tokyo, 1905-1937 conveys a real sense of how a portion of the city functioned and was organized in the early years of this century. Drawing upon a wide variety of primary sources, Hastings provides a nuanced understanding of the complexity of Tokyo and the lives of its citizens. Her study advances a significant debate currently taking place in modern Japanese history about the role of the state in the early twentieth century.
Quoted from dust jacket.