Stream D

Interpretations on Japan's historical crises

D1. Japanese Education and the State Before 1945: Relations, Effects, and Legacies

Wednesday, 5th September, 15:30 - 17:10

Japanese education before 1945 was strongly controlled by the state in order to shape the population into loyal, hard-working, and law-abiding Imperial subjects. However, the extent of state power to direct education can be exaggerated; the nation-building aims of education were complicated by coexistence with other aims embraced by educationalists; and the degree to which educational aims of the state and others could be realised is not always well understood. The papers in this panel illuminate different aspects of this relationship between education and the Japanese state. Anne-Lise Mithout outlines the situation of special schools for those with disabilities and uses documentary evidence to interrogate the relationship between the diverse goals of these schools, and how far they were achieved. L. Halliday Piel uses documentary and oral history evidence to examine how wartime elementary school teachers used diary writing as a tool to develop and discipline children in their care, and how effective this practice was. Peter Cave reveals the disputatious history of secondary school entrance exam reform between 1920 and 1945, a history which illustrates both the conflicts among those with a stake in education, and the limits of state power to get its way in the educational sphere. Finally, Luli van der Does shows how the legacy of pre-1945 education lived on and continued to play a role in mobilizing the Japanese population decades after the end of World War Two.

Integrating Disabled People into the Nation Building Process? Special Education for the Blind before 1945

Anne-Lise Mithout, Paris-Diderot University, [email protected]

Institutes training the blind in acupuncture, massage and moxa cautery existed in the Edo period. However, the major turn in Japan’s history of education for people with disabilities occurred in the Meiji period, as intellectuals and philanthropists created the first schools for the blind and schools for the deaf following western models. As early as 1890, these schools were integrated into the “modern” education system and the Ministry of Education championed their development. Special schools at that time were pursuing two goals: a charitable goal (“rescuing disabled children from dependence on their families, illiteracy and poverty”) and a rehabilitation goal (enabling them to work, that is, to contribute to Japan’s economic development).

Today, special schools are severely criticized as “segregated”, for isolating disabled people from the rest of society from an early age. However, at a time when the education system was defined as an active part of the national political project, to what extent did special schools contribute to integrating people with disabilities into the nation building process or to excluding them from it?

This paper focuses on the case of special schools for the blind and presents the first results of a research on the history of special education investigating both legal texts framing the special education system and first-hand accounts of school life written in diaries and autobiographies by blind people who attended special schools in the Taishô and early Shōwa periods. It especially highlights differences in the experience of education between male and female students.

Disciplining Minds through School Diary Writing

L. Halliday Piel, Lasell College, [email protected]

On 21 August 1944, pupils in a Tokyo elementary school, managed by one of four elite teacher-training colleges under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, were evacuated to the countryside to escape the Allied bombardment at the end of the Second World War. For two years, they lived communally with their teachers, far from the comforts of family and home. Their education continued in large part through the writing of diaries that were monitored weekly by their teachers. Some 2,500 pages from fifteen diaries written individually by girls and one diary written collaboratively by boys were compiled years after the war by surviving alumni determined to keep alive in national memory the hardships and sacrifices of children during war.

Yet, in addition to illustrating wartime conditions, the diaries also reveal how teachers hoped to use the practice of keeping diaries for maintaining discipline and morale in face of food shortages and homesickness. With roots in neo-Confucian self-cultivation and interwar progressive self-expression, the practice of diary writing was included in the Ministry of Education’s wartime curriculum to produce the ideal qualities of the Good Child (yoi kodomo). Through interviews with survivors and an examination of comments by teachers in the diaries, this paper evaluates the effectiveness of diary writing in cultivating the Good Child’s qualities of endurance, obedience, positive thinking, and team spirit.

State Power, National Purpose, and the Reform of Secondary Entrance Exams, 1920-1945

Peter Cave, University of Manchester, [email protected]

Entrance examinations for secondary schools became a subject of keen public concern during the Taishō period. Intensifying competition to enter these selective schools was widely thought to damage school education and children’s health, and so alternative admissions processes were widely debated in the 1920s. In 1927, the Ministry of Education responded by prohibiting written entrance exams for secondary schools, replacing them with selection using elementary school grades, oral questions, and (if necessary) lotteries. However, the new system was widely criticised and just two years later the Ministry reversed its position and allowed written entrance exams again. In 1939, written entrance exams for secondary schools were once again banned by the Ministry, which was concerned that increasing educational competition and exam prep activities were hindering the mission of elementary schools to shape children morally and spiritually. This time, prohibition was more successful, but was nonetheless modified to allow a less demanding written exam from 1944, amid concerns about inconsistent standards and falling academic attainment. This paper argues that the problems encountered by these attempts to reform entrance exams reveal conflicting ideas about what kind of educational structures were in the best interests of the nation, as some prioritized traditional academic attainment, and others a broader education and their preferred versions of human development. The reforms’ uneven progress also demonstrates the limits to state power, even under conditions of total war.

Sing to Counter the Crisis - the Power of Mobilisation in Japan's State-endorsed Children’s Songs

Luli van der Does, Hiroshima University, [email protected]

From the inception of the modern Japanese nation-state in the Meiji period, songs have played an important role in educating and mobilising its people. Songs united the fragmented society after the dissolution of the Tokugawa feudal system under the imagined community of an ancient family-nation. A series of state-devised educational songs nurtured the children of imperial Japan with rich sensitivity and lyricism, but also imbued their young minds with imperialism, militarism, and ultra-nationalism as part of the ‘Thought War’, so that they might fight for the nation while it undertook major international wars from 1904 to 1945. Soon after Japan’s 1945 defeat the same set of songs were deemed undemocratic and militaristic. Many of them were banned. Music education was revised. Japan was demilitarised and democratised. The wartime songs were, however, not forgotten. They lived on in disguise.

Using quantitative and qualitative data analytics of a vast collection of songs, and based on the results framed in historical perspective, this paper demonstrates how discourse of the songs continued to mobilise the ordinary people of Japan in the post-war era, but this time, in the reconstruction efforts, culminating in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

D2. Mahāyāna in Europe – Japanese Buddhists and their Contribution to Academic Knowledge on Buddhism in Nineteenth-Century Europe

Thursday, 6th September, 0900 - 10:30

Through introducing the project “Mahāyāna in Europe – Japanese Buddhists and their Contribution to Academic Knowledge on Buddhism in Nineteenth-Century Europe” based at the University of Heidelberg, the papers of this panel will scrutinise how “Mahāyāna Buddhism” was constituted as an object of academic knowledge in 19th century Europe. The panel is predicated on two fundamental insights that represent an innovative departure from previous scholarship. First, the process through which “Buddhism” and specifically “Mahāyāna” emerged as categories of academic discourse was neither a one-way transfer of knowledge or method from the West to the East nor was it under the exclusive control of European scholars. And second, Japanese Buddhists were essential contributors to this development, outdoing their Asian peers in terms of both the vigour and the timeliness of their interventions. The crucial role Japanese Buddhists played in the formation of central categories of Buddhist Studies can be explained by their reactions to the institutional crisis Japanese Buddhism faced in the wake of the Meiji Revolution. In overcoming this crisis, Japanese Buddhists sought to appropriate modernity in the form of scholarly knowledge and to utilise it in defining their own social and intellectual space in emerging Meiji society. Each paper addresses one aspect of the Japanese involvement in the construction of “Mahāyāna” Buddhism. Stephan Licha’s paper reveals some of the domestic debates that shaped the nature of the Buddhism the Japanese eventually presented as their own. Hans Martin Krämer’s contribution will focus on the interactions between Japanese Buddhists traveling to Europe in the last three decades of the 19th century and European orientalist scholars. Finally, Ulrich Harlass addresses how European orientalist and religious studies dealt with Japanese Buddhism and Mahāyāna more broadly.

Naturalising Enlightenment – Buddhist Legitimisation Strategies in Early Meiji Japan

Stephan Kigensan Licha, Heidelberg University, [email protected]

The nativist ideology predicated on the “unity of rites and rule” (saisei itchi 祭政一致) emphasised during the aftermath of the Meiji Revolution caused a significant crisis among Japanese Buddhists. The disestablishment of the Ministry of Divinities (Jingikan 神祇官) and its replacement by the Ministry of Doctrine (Kyōbushō 教部省) temporarily alleviated the situation through the mostly voluntary conscription of Buddhist institutions into the national propagandistic effort. It did nothing, however, to help address the basic issue: What place, if any, did Buddhism have in disseminating civilization and progress (bunmei kaika 文明開化)?

In their treatments of the emergence of modernist discourses in Japanese Buddhism, scholars such as Ketelaar, Snodgrass or Harding have focused on the role played by the Japanese delegation to the 1893 World Parliament of Religions. This paper seeks to complement their arguments by exploring the strategies of legitimisation deployed by Japanese Buddhists between the founding of the Ministry of Doctrine and the opening of the World Parliament. This period was characterised by increasing exchanges with Western discourses on “religion” and “Buddhism” that in turn necessitated a reconsideration of the standing of Japanese Buddhism in the context of the wider Asian Buddhist tradition. Drawing on hitherto unconsidered sources from contemporary Buddhist journals, I argue that Japanese Buddhist reformers creatively engaged the doctrinal category of “Mahāyāna” in order to craft for their traditions an identity that sought to safeguard their independence vis-à-vis the encroaching demands of the state while still positioning Buddhism as a vital resource for the nation.

19th Century European Orientalists and Their Japanese Interlocutors

Hans Martin Krämer, Heidelberg University, [email protected]

In the wake of the Saidian critique of Orientalism, religious studies scholarship has come to regard “Buddhism” – like “Hinduism” or “religion” – as a 19th century European invention, which was later exported to Asia, resulting in modernist forms of Buddhism in places such as Sri Lanka and Japan. More recently, scholars have begun to emphasise the global nature of the exchange of ideas already in the 19th century and therefore the conceptual need to problematise the dichotomy between “Europe” and “Asia” by arguing for viewing exchanges of knowledge between East and West as processes of the co-production of knowledge.

The study trips of Japanese Buddhist priests since the 1870s to European luminaries of orientalism such as Max Müller, Sylvain Lévi or Hermann Oldenberg seem at first sight to be an odd example of this co-production of knowledge, given the imbalance between the well-established scholars of world renown and their young Japanese adepts. In fact, however, their interactions were far from one-sided, and I will show how the orientalists’ view of Japanese religions, Japanese Buddhism and Mahāyāna Buddhism changed as a result of their encounters with Japanese Buddhists. In order to be able to reconsider the reception of Japanese Buddhism in academic circles in the last decades of the 19th century, the distinction between Buddhism as a lived religion and as a book religion, as well the changing conditions of studying Japan, will have to be taken account.

The Discovery of Japanese Buddhism as Part of the World Religion “Buddhism”?

Ulrich Harlass, Bremen University, [email protected]

While it was known before the 19th century that there were Buddhists in Japan, the emergence of Buddhism as a world religion comprising Japanese Buddhism cannot be observed before the second half of the 19th century. But even then, the distinction between Hinayāna and Mahāyāna Buddhism was seen as an Indian phenomenon historically, and as a textual phenomenon philologically. This loss of the unity of Buddhism, the southern and the northern schools, resulted in a hierarchical notion of authentic, i.e. Indian and later southern Buddhism, as opposed to its northern sibling. Owing to the philological focus of scholars of Buddhism, and their access to the respective sources, Japanese Buddhism was of minor concern at best. But towards the fin-de-siècle, Japanese Buddhism gained popularity in both academic and popular circles, owing to, among other reasons, Japanese Buddhists taking an active role in this popularisation and a general vogue of the Orient, which Japan was considered part of.

The aim of my paper will be to trace the ‘sediments’ of Japanese Buddhism in Orientalist discourse and to illustrate the development of the intertwined discourses on Buddhism, Mahāyāna and Japanese Buddhism throughout the 19th century. I will argue that in doing so, a chronological gap in the common narrative that distinguishes between an “early phase” of missionary reports and a “later” phase of popular interest in Japanese Buddhism – particularly Zen – can be closed. Japanese traditions were only slowly being “discovered” as a legitimate part of the world religion named Buddhism.

D3. Transforming the nation in pre-war Japan

Wednesday, 6th September, 11:00 - 12:30

Good Daughters' of the Meiji Period

Taka Oshikiri, University of the West Indies, [email protected]

The ryōsai kenbo (good wife and wise mother) ideology – recognised by the state and instituted in secondary schools – was an invention of Meiji modernity that restricted the middle-class women’s place in the home. At the same time though, from around the turn of the nineteenth century, girls’ tertiary educational institutions were founded. Some of them were aimed at producing female professionals. Although these schools were not qualified universities under the pre-war Japanese educational system and only a very limited number of girls had access to the higher education, the development of the educational system certainly opened new possibilities for young girls’ life choices, which might have contradicted with the ryōsai kenbo ideology and the parents’ expectations for them and their future. The presentation captures this moment of change by examining a series of newspaper articles in the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper that discuss women in their late teens and early twenties from various backgrounds. This presentation analyses the representations of decent women in media at the beginning of the twentieth century, highlighting continuity and changes in feminine ideals under the ryōsai kenbo ideology in the transforming society of late Meiji Japan.

Taishō Democratic Movement and the Place of Women in Taishō Literature: Gender and Sexuality in the Writings of Shiga Naoya

Mohammad Moinuddin, Osaka University, [email protected]

Benedict Anderson argues that a novel is ‘a device for the representation of simultaneity in ‘homogeneous, empty time,’ or a complex gloss upon the word ‘meanwhile’.’ (“Imagined Communities”, p.25) Further, a Japanese literary critic Kojin Karatani opines as, ‘A novel forms a nation by imagining simultaneity of intellectuals and masses or through agreement of different social stratum.’ (“kindai bungaku no owari”, p.45) Arguably, a piece of literature could assimilate the occurrences of a society without fail.  The Taishō Democratic Movement has brought several changes in the Japanese society. Terms, like ‘liberalism’, ‘individualism’, and ‘humanism’ are referred as keywords while defining this period. Could these movements ‘liberate’ the women, too, from the so called assigned job of ‘bringing up children’ or ‘merely being a symbol of sexuality’? Taking literature as a means that reflect the temper of the times, in this paper I explore the condition of women in Taishō period. Shiga Naoya, popularly known as “God of novels”, was a staunch supporter of ‘liberalism’ movement that existed during Taishō period (1912-1926). He attempted to spread his thoughts on ‘liberalism’ and ‘individualism’ through literature. Unlike history or other social records, he endeavoured to portray even the imagination of his characters, where both men and women could openly express themselves. Due to stereotypical style of analyses, themes like gender and sexuality that are greatly depicted in his novels have been overlooked. This paper would attempt to break the stereotype and discuss the representation of gender and sexuality in his writings.

Dressing For Crisis: The Joint Civil-Military Clothing Association and Clothing Reform in 1930s “Crisis Japan”

James Homsey, [email protected]

By the 1930s, many throughout Japan spoke of economic, political, and cultural crisis, and preached the necessity of reform to the failed status quo. Such reformist impulses extended to various quotidian aspects of daily life. Clothing was no exception. In 1929, a group of managerial officers responsible for Army clothing worked with civilian figures from the clothing and textile industries to establish a joint civil-military enterprise, the Clothing Association (Hifuku Kyōkai). They were driven by concerns regarding what they saw as a multifaceted crisis in Japanese clothing. Their foremost concern was to ensure that Japan could achieve clothing autarky in the case of a future war despite their reliance on trade for raw materials, the lag of standardization and rationalization in these industries, and the gap between civilian and military clothing. However, they also saw the creation and propagation of a sober, utilitarian, uniform, and militarized “national clothing” as being critical to addressing Japan’s supposed spiritual crisis, as it would help foster an industrious and unified populace to help the nation surmount the crises they faced. The Association also presented clothing reform as an effort to aid the indigent with the high costs of maintaining a functional personal wardrobe. While managerial officers remained the driving force behind this project, civilian participants engaged in the discourse of clothing crisis and reform to secure a place for their companies and industries in the shifting economic order of the 1930s, thereby shaping this project. The efforts of the Association culminated in the wartime creation of a “National Clothing” (kokumin hifuku).

D4. Foreign eyes on Meiji Japan

Thursday, 6th September, 13:30 - 15:10

The Outside Perspective – Treaty Port Newspapers and the Meiji Restoration

Andreas Eichleter, University of Heidelberg, [email protected]

The Meiji Restoration is often presented as a paradigm shift in Japanese history paving the way from the crisis of the Bakumatsu period to an era of progress and modernization under the new government. Primarily seen as a domestic issue, external actors and forces provided impulses for the unfolding events and remained of importance to Japan, as it was still bound by the Western dominated international order. Therefore, it behooves us to look at how the Meiji Restoration was perceived not only at home but abroad, because the changes in Japan were crucial for its international standing and the continued interaction with the Western powers. Foreign residents in East Asia were keen observers of the situation and they regarded the Meiji Restoration in particular as a major turning point in Japan’s attitude towards progress and modernization. This presentation aims to analyze, how the Meiji Restoration was perceived by contemporary foreign language newspapers in Japan and China. Of particular importance are the two major newspapers of the time, the North China Herald, published in Shanghai from 1850 to 1951, and the Japan Weekly Mail, published in Yokohama from 1870 to 1917, but also others. Their perspective is important because it reflects the knowledge and views of the foreign community in the Treaty Ports, and not just those of the diplomatic representatives. They reveal what the average Westerner knew about the restoration, how they saw the changes in government and what they represented for the foreigners.

Japan Imagined, Presented, and Represented: British Composer’s responses to Something Japanese

Moeko Hayashi, University of Oxford, [email protected]

Japan and its culture has been widely experienced and imagined in the West especially since the mid nineteenth century, and represented in various art forms. In terms of musical representations, quite a few composers have adopted something Japanese into their works. This paper explores twentieth-century British ideas of Japan and the post-war musical representations of these ideas, by investigating how they have been constructed and have significantly changed. Composers within the realm include Benjamin Britten, Alexander Goehr, Nicola LeFanu and Mark-Anthony Turnage. It also attempts to elaborate on the notion of ‘Japanese culture’ and its operation during the period in question. In the first half of the twentieth century, British composers’ perceptions of Japan shifted from nineteenth-century partially fantacised exoticism to a more realistic and artistic fascination and appreciation. Composers had access to Japanese culture through cultural artefacts and people with experiences of the culture. However, the Second World War implanted barbaric images of Japan as a military and political threat, and such memories from the war remained in the minds of composers for a while after the war. The situation radically changed again in the post-war period. Japan then started using its own traditions to restore the cultural value of the country, and this largely influenced perceptions of Japan. In this sense, there is a significant discontinuity between pre-war and post-war Japan. This is, in no small part, the result of Japan’s careful and elaborate self-presentation.

From the Ashes of the Great Kantō Earthquake: The Tokyo Imperial University Settlement

Chris Perkins, University of Edinburgh, [email protected]

In 1884, an Anglican clergyman and staff and students from Oxford University set up a ‘settlement house’ in the East End of London. Conceiving poverty as a moral problem, their goal was to live with the poor to raise their cultural standards, and thus pull them out of the cycle of destitution. The idea soon spread to the United States. That the settlement movement would travel across the Atlantic is no surprise: there was rich exchange between the UK and US in the late 19th century, and the values underpinning the movement were shared. But what is perhaps less expected is that the settlement movement also traveled to Japan where it was put into practice by a range of governmental and non-government actors including students at Tokyo Imperial University in the wake of the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake. The movement then flourished for almost a decade, before coming to an end in 1938. How was it adapted to the Japanese context? What were its goals, methods, successes and failures? And what can this example tell us about the global circulation of ideas regarding social responsibility, the state, and welfare in the pre-war period?

D5. New Perspectives on the Economic and Business History of Occupied Japan

Thursday, 6th September, 15:30 - 17:00

The Occupation era (1945-1952) arguably saw the beginnings of Japan’s growth from the ashes of defeat towards its status as a developmental model for much of the world during the latter half of the twentieth century. The economic policies and influence of the Occupation authorities have thus attracted the attention of scholars, especially as their efficacy and results can be employed as evidence to examine the nature of the legacies of the Occupation. Within many studies considerations of the level of continuity existing with the economic policies and structures of pre-1945 Japan are central. Key debates about Japanese agency and the character of, and changes within, Occupation policy also intersect directly here with interpretations of the economic history of the era. This panel presents a range of new contributions to the debate surrounding the level and forms of continuity between the economic and business policies and structures of the pre and post Occupation eras. The papers presented here address: the hitherto neglected element of Japanese agency within the Zaibatsu (large industrial combine) dissolution program (Steven Ericson), add new interpretations of the revival of the Japanese fishing Industry under the Occupation (William Tsutsui), and add further economic dimensions to analyses of the impact of the Occupation’s Jeeps upon Japan (Thomas French). These papers offer numerous new arguments, interpretations, and pieces of evidence, and contribute significantly to the debates mentioned above.

Japanese Agency and Business Reform in Occupied Japan: The Holding Company Liquidation Commission and Zaibatsu Dissolution

Steven Ericson, Dartmouth College, [email protected]

To date, studies of the zaibatsu dissolution and business deconcentration programs during the U.S. occupation of Japan have foregrounded an array of American players. Douglas MacArthur and his subordinates in Tokyo; Washington bureaucrats and Congressmen; U.S. businessmen, diplomats, and journalists in the ‘Japan Lobby’—such actors have figured prominently in the literature. Recent work on the Occupation has uncovered previously overlooked input by Japanese individuals and groups into other U.S.-mandated reforms, in particular those of education, labor relations, and the constitution. In the area of business reform, however, most analyses mention only in passing Japanese initiative or agency in the development of Occupation programs for ‘democratizing’ Japanese business. This paper focuses on the activities of the Holding Company Liquidation Commission (HCLC), a poorly understood Japanese body that carried out SCAP directives on business breakup and reorganization. Drawing especially on the memoirs of Noda Iwajirō, a central figure in the HCLC, the paper demonstrates that this agency played a critical role in shaping the Occupation’s business reforms and in mitigating their effects. Through skillful negotiation and persuasion, the commission contributed to a scaling back of reforms that previous studies have attributed primarily to American geopolitical, business, and financial concerns after 1947.

The Road Less Travelled: The Influence of GHQ’s Jeeps upon the Postwar Japanese Automotive industry

Thomas French, Ritsumeikan University, [email protected]

Within studies of the Occupation years (1945-52) the cultural impact of the Jeep has been clearly identified, and often linked to the power of General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander of Allied Powers (GHQ) and its personnel. However within the economic sphere the Jeep’s influence remains under examined, despite having a significant impact. Some accounts argue the Jeep helped shape Japanese people’s ideas about personal transportation and automobiles in general, but the influence of the Jeep also clearly extended into the automotive industry, with the maintenance, refurbishment, and, later, manufacture of Jeeps, forming a major, but rarely examined, element within its early postwar development. This highly symbolic (and literal) reconstruction an iconic piece of Americana in Japan was also one which laid some of the foundations of the subsequent growth of several of Japan’s postwar automotive giants. Alongside contextualising the role of the Jeep within the mid-twentieth century history of the Japanese automotive industry and the cultural influences ascribed to the Jeep within the literature, this paper presents the argument that discussions of the Jeep’s role within the Occupation have to date focused too closely on the cultural impacts of the vehicle, and that the hitherto neglected roles the Jeep played within the automotive industry both before and after the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950 deserve greater attention.

An Empire Reborn: The Japanese Fishing Industry during the Occupation

William M. Tsutsui, Hendrix College, [email protected]

By August 1945, Japan's once proud fisheries were at lowest ebb. Its modern fleet was decimated by war and its most productive offshore fishing grounds were lost with the empire. Japan's occupiers, however, quickly realized the fisheries’ critical importance, and not just to the pressing problems of a hungry Japanese populace and the thousands of fishermen needing work. Acknowledging the prominence of fisheries in the pre-war economy, American officials prioritized the industry’s rapid rebuilding as essential to restoring economic self-sufficiency and jump-starting exports. Soon after defeat, Japanese fishermen were allowed back in coastal waters, scarce raw materials were targeted to rebuilding efforts, government financial resources flowed to fishing interests, and advanced foreign technology was introduced. The results were impressive: by 1947, Japan had more large fishing vessels than ever before and by 1952, and was again the world's top fishing nation. Indeed, this postwar recovery was only too successful, with the signs of overfishing and overcapacity soon manifesting themselves. This paper will chart the postwar resurgence of Japan’s fishing industry and, in particular, the role of the Occupation in this process. I argue that, as in other policy areas, the American authorities affirmed (and even strengthened) a longstanding repertoire of practices and strategies originally developed to provide state support to the fishing industry as an instrument of Japan's imperial ambitions. Under American sponsorship, Japanese fisheries would be mobilized once again as an important element in a new national drive for wealth and power.

D6. Post-war transformations, resistance, and politics

Friday, 7th September, 09:00 - 10:30

Shinjuku 1968: media panics, nonconformists, and the play of politics

William Marotti, University of California Los Angeles, [email protected]

In my paper, I address the creation of a key politicized space in Shinjuku during the late 1960s, focusing on the role of marginalized sociopolitical identities and practices, and the centrality of Shinjuku in national political struggles over the legitimacy of protest and force. Divided west to east by a high-traffic train station, Shinjuku in the late 1960s was a site both for massive state investments in the future of the capital and nation, and for improvisational spaces of a radical and internationalized youth culture of dissent. Shinjuku’s west side was a primary focus for Tokyo’s intensifying economic and infrastructural development, a zone for heavily promoted international investments in Tokyo’s first skyscrapers—but also one rapidly claimed by bike gangs enjoying the newly-laid spacious roads. The eastern side brought together the afterlives of the black markets and a banned sex trade with a youth counterculture figured in the abject category of “fūten” (layabouts). Decried in media panics and in activist writings alike, such unscripted hanging out paradoxically leant the area an air of possibility—and provided a pivotal catalyst to political actions centered on the station, through which jet fuel and US military personnel were found to pass regularly. I consider the relation between a politics of violence and space, and the radical cultural politics of the moment, including art, theater, and counterculture. I further consider the relations between space and subjectivation as mobile processes, and the significance of these struggles in thinking about the transnational, global dimensions of 1968.

How to Circle: Social Technology and the Transformation of Postwar Japanese Political Culture, 1955-1987

Adam Bronson, Durham University, [email protected]

In the 1950s, a movement to form small voluntary associations called “circles” (sākuru) spread rapidly throughout workplaces and schools in Japan. Communist theoreticians had originally conceived of circles as crucibles for the production of revolutionary culture at the grassroots – a place where intellectuals could learn from and assist the masses in the creation of proletarian art and literature. By the 1980s, the word “circle” had shed its political connotations and simply designated small associations held together by a shared hobby– such as classical music appreciation or tennis. Historians have explained this shift in meaning with reference to a broad historical narrative that recounts a popular turn away from “collectivist” Leftist politics toward “individualist” leisure activities across Japan’s postwar era of high economic growth. Yet this narrative fails to grasp the degree to which writers and activists within the circle movement deliberately sought to transform postwar political culture in response to a specific crisis of “political stagnation” facing progressive movements during the Cold War. In my paper, I sketch this transformation across three decades though books and magazine articles that explain how to organize, manage, and participate in a circle. Popular how-to guides from the circle movement shed light on the specific ways the movement targeted different forms of embodied knowledge and commonsense thought to impede the formation of democratic and egalitarian associations.

The Dowa Policy Process

Ian Neary, Oxford University, [email protected]
The Dowa Projects Policy (同和事業対策) operated from 1969-2002 under a number of different names. They were mainly implemented by local governments within guidelines set out by the central government in Tokyo. The aim of this paper is less to look at the content of that policy than to describe the process of its formation at the national level firstly in the 1960s and then as it evolved over more than thirty years; from the shingikai report published in 1965 that set out the main aims of Dowa policy to the statements issued by the Somusho in 2002 that explained why it was no longer appropriate for it to be funded by central government.  One feature of policy making in the twentieth century often commented upon was the extreme difficulty in formulating policy which involved the cooperation of more than one ministry. However in this case we have as many as eight ministries involved in the development and implementation of policy. Moreover the key lobby organisation, the Buraku Liberation League, was one of the, if not the, most vociferous critics of the Japanese government at least until the 1990s. Following a description of the interaction between the four key strands within the Dowa policy making process – external pressure, PARC sub-committee, shingikai and ministerial responses - we will consider how this fits in to the models of Japanese policy making proposed by Japanese and American political scientists.

What’s in a Name? A Case Study on the Survival of Martial Arts in Occupied Japan

Julian Wayne, Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences, [email protected]

As SCAP promoted initiatives aimed at demilitarising and democratising Japan, it identified martial arts as an arena responsible for the pre-war promotion of militarism and ultranationalism. Acting on this view, it banned martial arts from schools and dissolved the Dainippon Butokukai, or “Greater Japan Martial Virtue Association”, arguably the most influential martial arts organisation in Japan before the war. In addition to provoking the opposition of those who viewed martial arts as an irreplaceable component of traditional Japanese culture, SCAP’s ban created the immediate logistical problem of how best to employ physical education teachers who had hitherto specialised in martial arts instruction. Despite the restrictions on martial arts practice, the little-known Japanese martial art of nippon kempō, which had been created by Kansai University graduate Sawayama Muneomi in 1932, maintained a steady spread throughout the post-war years. In particular, three high-school nippon kempō clubs had been established in the Kansai area by the time the ban on jūdō in schools was lifted in 1950. In my presentation, I will examine the possibility that, because nippon kempō was not specifically named in the martial arts ban and because of the close relationship between the jūdō and nippon kempō communities in Kansai, the ban actually encouraged the spread of nippon kempō. My presentation, which will hopefully provide a fresh perspective on cultural hybridisation, will be partly based on recollections by the son of one of Sawayama’s colleagues.

D7. Historical crises retold and reused

Friday, 7th September, 09:00 - 10:30

Legitimising power through the faces of the past: Re-representing the Genpei War

Elesabeth Woolley, SOAS University of London, [email protected]

The Genpei War (1180-85) has given Japanese culture some of its most vivid stories of heroes and tragedies on and off the battlefield, thanks to the famous collection of war tale texts known as the ‘Heike Monogatari’ corpus. Representations of these stories can be found in mediaeval and pre-modern drama and artwork. The popularity of the tales continues into the present-day, with NHK producing two Taiga dramas on the subject in the last fifteen years (Yoshitsune, 2005 and Taira no Kiyomori, 2012). Stories about the late twelfth century have continued to resonate throughout the centuries, with each era retelling these tales within its own ideological framework. My presentation will explore how periods of tumultuous change influenced how these stories were reconstructed. It will look at the impact of political transition, both between military governments and at the end of military power in the nineteenth century, on the literary representations of Genpei warriors. Using as case studies the stories of Minamoto no Yorimasa’s appeal to Prince Mochihito, and that of Sasaki Takatsuna, best known for his triumphant charge across the River Uji, it will examine how the stories of long dead twelfth century heroes and villains were manipulated to help people make sense of their present. It will also address the manner in which these same stories were re-invented to serve as propaganda, promoting ideals and legitimising the new regime within the context of the past.

Dealing with Crisis in Japan at the Turn of the 19th Century

Bruno Christiaens, Japanese Studies, [email protected]

In the late 18th century, a combination of bad harvests, famine, financial downturns and the arrival of Russian ships at Japan’s gates posed itself as a real crisis to the Tokugawa authorities.  Ahead of these contemporaneous matters, Rangaku scholars such as Kudô Heisuke (1734-1801) and Honda Toshiaki (1744-1821) had been proposing a more progressive approach, suggesting commercial exchange with Russia (kaikokuron) and the development of a political economy, such as frontier region exploration. As the crisis unfolded however, other Japanese scholars of Rangaku such as Aoki Okikatsu (1762-1812) and Shizuki Tadao (1760-1806) became apparent advocates of the strengthening of Japan’s isolationist policy (sakokuron), and the bolstering of its maritime defences. At the same time, available knowledge on the matters of a deepening international crisis between France and Britain -as a result of the French and American Revolutions- came through the hands of the Nagasaki interpreters, and it can be assumed they have played a more active role -than until now has been accepted- in helping to shape the ideas of the aforementioned intellectuals, who frequented Nagasaki on several occasions. Against the backdrop of these domestic and international moments of crisis, we can gain some significant insights on how Japan has dealt with change factors. Simultaneously, these responses provide us some unique understanding on the availability of information and the foreign ideological transition which took place in the late stage of the Edo era.

Literary productions in transition: On the evolution of the late Edo tales of vengeance between Kansei and Tenpō reforms

Mario Talamo, CRCAO, École Pratique des Hautes Études, [email protected]

In 1795, the seventh year of Kansei, Nansenshō Somahito (1749-1807) published Katakiuchi gijo no hanabusa (A crown of flowers for a virtuous woman; a tale of vengeance). This was the first in a long series of works inspired by the theme of vengeance, in the literary tradition known as katakiuchimono (tales of vengeance). Katakiuchimono flourished in Japan during the last century of the Edo period (1603-1858), when, in the aftermath of the Kansei reform (1787-93), literary products with didactic and moral aims were issued. Somabito’s text inaugurated a rather prolific production, which dwelt on the epic exploits of brave men from the past and covered a long time-span, from the immediate aftermath of the Kansei reform to the second half of the nineteenth century. The proposed paper aims at outlining the evolution of the late Edo katakiuchimono, from the first works, dating from a period of great ideological fervor, such as the Kansei era, to the last examples issued in the immediate aftermath of the Tenpō reform, when the entire system built by the Tokugawa collapsed under the pressure of transformative social changes. The paper intends to analyze dramatis personae, style and narrative structure of the tales of vengeance, with particular regard to the transformations, which took place in the production, as representations of crisis, when the neo-Confucian tenets at the very foundation of this literary tradition gave way to a more native, less Chinese-centered ideology.

 A Crisis of Representation? Barbarian threats and writing Japan into the world

Edward Boyle, Faculty of Law, Kyushu University, [email protected]

The world appeared to draw near to a secluded Japan at the end of the eighteenth century. A growing awareness of the threat to Japan’s position in Ezo was accompanied by an understanding of Russia’s vast expanse, while an upsurge in foreign vessels approaching the coast suggested invasion plots being hatched in far-off countries. This sense of geopolitical crisis was given cartographic representation through growing confusion over Japan’s place in the world. Ontological insecurity manifested itself in efforts to remap Japan, moving from an abstracted representation of imperial space to one which positioned Japan on a global grid. The geographical moorings provided by the twin crutches of latitude and longitude served to fix Japan in place, tying her fast amidst the disorientating swirl of foreign bodies encircling the archipelago. Focusing on the incorporation of new geographic information in the period leading up to the publication of Takahashi Kageyasu’s "Revised Map of the World" in 1816, this paper seeks to inquire into the significance of the unsettling of traditional political and social boundaries through the invocation of this sense of crisis. The last thirty years have seen this period at the turn of the century come to be once again emphasized for its significance in Japan’s post-Meiji trajectory later in the century. This piece offers a first step in considering the way in which the sense of threat, dislocation and sporadic disasters that characterized the period influenced the subsequent re-presentation of Japan as existing within the world.

D8. Social diversity, power, and the demise of Tokugawa Japan

Friday, 7th September, 11:00 - 12:30

Living with Attainder: Local Crisis and Change During the Tokugawa Period 

Floris van Swet, Harvard University, [email protected]

The Tokugawa period (1600-1868) in Japan is often presented as a period of continuity when looked at on a national scale. At the local level, however, this was a period during which domains, families and individuals could experience intense and transformative change as local socio-political power was consolidated.

Through the use of attainder, or forfeiture, of domains, the Tokugawa government aimed to rearrange the geo-political landscape, rewarding some lords whilst punishing others. These moments of attainder were not simply bureaucratic reorganizations, and could often create moments of intense social pressure with a potential for violence. Hit hardest by this consolidation of power were those individuals in the employ of the attaindered lords who often lost their source of income and security, and were essentially faced with ‘redundancy’. As a result, these individuals were forced to reconcile social and political changes with an outwardly static social environment, and seemingly unconcerned central institutions. This paper will therefore look at the effects of local crises such as domain attainder during the Tokugawa period and their effects on a personal level by focussing on the changes experienced by these retainers.  As such, it will highlight often-overlooked moments of local change that, though perpetuating ideas of national continuity, had transformative effects on individual lives and local social geographies. Whilst moments of continuity are often imagined on a national scale, this paper will demonstrate that beneath the surface of periods of perceived continuity are local moments of transition and individual moments of crisis.

Religion in Crisis: Chōshū, Shin Buddhism and the Meiji Restoration

Mick Deneckere, Ghent University, [email protected]

It is a well-known fact of Japanese history that the alliance of Satsuma and Chōshū succeeded in overthrowing the Tokugawa regime, which in turn led to the Meiji Restoration in 1868. In his study Chōshū in the Meiji Restoration (1961), Albert Craig discusses the political, social and economic factors that enabled the outer coastal domain of Chōshū to perform this role. However, there was yet another, lesser-known aspect of Chōshū that was instrumental in preparing the domain for this historical task, namely its religious landscape, in which Shin (True Pure Land) Buddhism occupied a crucial place. As the main school of Buddhism in Chōshū, Shin Buddhism had nurtured close connections with the domain authorities over the centuries. In the bakumatsu, its participation in politics and its endeavours to modernise its structures enabled it to be integral part of the domain’s effort to overthrow the Tokugawa. The Shin sect’s agency and its connections with the political realm indicate that Shin Buddhism was a vibrant institution in the period surrounding the Meiji Restoration. This paper will explore the role of Shin Buddhism in bakumatsu Chōshū and highlight how active participation in Chōshū’s cause constituted a means for Shin Buddhism to face and overcome the crisis of growing anti-Buddhist and pro-Shinto sentiment in the domain and on a national level. It will also discuss the role of Nishi Honganji—to which Shin Buddhist temples in Chōshū were affiliated—in the Meiji Restoration and revisit the traditional narrative that Japanese Buddhism was a weakened institution by the end of the Tokugawa.

D9. Rethinking Political Crises in the First Decade of the Meiji Period

Friday, 7th September, 13:30 - 15:00

The first decade after the Meiji restoration in 1868 was one of the most politically unstable periods in modern Japanese history. The new government quickly won the civil war against the forces of Tokugawa shogunate, but it had few plans regarding critical issues ranging from foreign relations to domestic reforms. While recent studies have rethought the linear narrative of modernization and shed light on this instability, it still remains unclear how various crises, internal and external, central and local, imagined and actual, resonated with each other. Four papers in this panel contemplate the question with focus on the geopolitical environment during the period. Isami Sawai rethinks the characteristics of Japan’s foreign relations in its formative years. Amin Ghadimi explores how diplomatic and military tensions on the Japanese frontiers precipitated the Political Crisis of 1873. Ryosuke Maeda sheds light on the process of centralizing military power in a highly unstable political environment. Maho Ikeda examines the group of people who emerged as elite-citizens in Tokyo after civil unrest during the transition period. Together, this panel explores diversified struggles in the 1870s and considers how these struggles affected emerging political culture and institutions of the nation. Kaoru Iokibe, who specializes in the history of diplomacy and party politics in Meiji Japan, serves as discussant.

What is ‘Diplomacy’?: The Struggle for Modern Foreign Relations in the Early Meiji Era

Isami Sawai, London School of Economics and Political Science, [email protected]

After the Meiji Restoration in 1868, Japan began establishing modern foreign relations. To illustrate this process, previous works have emphasised either the modernising efforts of Japanese society as a whole or the institutional reform of Japan’s foreign ministry. In reality, however, the introduction of the modernisation programme was not a smooth and systematic process; rather it was a struggle among various political actors (and their visions) within the Meiji government.

This paper investigates the struggle from the following two viewpoints. Firstly, the distances between the actors dealing with foreign affairs. In 1868–69, the communication/ miscommunication between distant actors in the political centres and treaty ports was a central feature of Japan’s foreign affairs. After the systematisation of central-local relations, in 1869–71, the struggle among newly established ministries in Tokyo was a determinant feature. In 1871–73, as demonstrated by the Iwakura mission, relations between the foreign ministry in Tokyo and the missions in other countries became more important. Secondly, the changing situation and foreign policy-making process. Rather than philosophical ideas for modernisation, it was the drastically changing situation that mainly determined Japan’s foreign policy choices. Not only samurai leaders but also former daimios, court nobles and Western diplomats played huge roles in the changing ‘situation’.

This topic has long been overlooked due to its complexity. This paper, which reveals the main characteristics of Japan’s foreign relations in its formative years, will offer significant sources for further understanding Japan’s foreign relations and imperialism in the latter period.

The Falcon Cannot Hear the Falconer: Epistemological Anarchy on the Japanese Frontier, 1873

Amin Ghadimi, Harvard University, [email protected]

All historians of modern Japan know about the so-called Political Crisis of Meiji 6, or 1873. Schism ripped through the nascent Meiji regime as such influential potentates as Saigō Takamori, Itagaki Taisuke, and Etō Shinpei marched out of the government and led aggressive anti-state movements and rebellions. But historians disagree about why the crisis emerged: the standard narrative long held that a bellicose Saigō Takamori sought to ignite war with Korea before returning members of the Iwakura Embassy obstructed him, but now the field remains split over whether Saigō really wanted war and whether the external Korea crisis really mattered more than other political squabbles within the Meiji oligarchy.

This paper reconfigures the history of Meiji 6 by flipping it inside out. Rather than focusing on the content of internal government debates, it examines what enabled those debates in the first place. It traces the origins of the political rupture at the center of Meiji regime to ideational problems on the furthest frontiers of the empire in Korea and Sakhalin. It reveals how the abruptness of the Meiji Revolution led to epistemological clashes between lower-level Japanese officials and their Korean and Russian counterparts. As men on the frontier struggled to resolve fundamental problems of human knowing that separated them from their foreign adversaries, they turned to the central state in desperation. The government was unable to reign in the intellectual disorder spiraling in from the edges of empire. And it fell apart.

Centralizing Military Power between Two Civil Wars: Focusing on Kyusyu problem in the 1870s

Ryosuke Maeda, Hokkaido University, [email protected]

There has long been a conventional understanding that Japan achieved “low cost revolution” in the modernization process. It is true that the number of victims in the Meiji Restoration was much less than that of the French Revolution or the American Civil War. Moreover, the chances of rebellions led by ex-samurai and local farmers, which often occurred in the 1870s, overthrowing the Meiji government were very slim. While historians have tended to refer to Takamori Saigo, one of the “three great nobles of the Restoration” who later rebelled against the government despite no apparent prospects of victory, as one final attempt to find “another solution,” it appears that there really were no viable alternatives.

However, such an understanding of the easiness of Japan’s modernization overlooks a number of important questions. For instance, how was the new Meiji government able to successfully build a standing army, even though military armaments, including that of the governmental forces, were decentralized? What kind of difficulties existed when a revolutionary administrative power tried to monopolize violence? How did they achieve a balance between the principle of a modern state and the realities of the civil war?

In this presentation, I shed light on the political process of integrating the local military forces, which happened mainly in the Kyushu region, especially Saga, Kumamoto, and Kagoshima. By analyzing this dynamic process, I will argue that the revolutionary government barely succeeded in building a nation-wide army and finally earning its legitimacy as the central government ex post facto.

The Formation of an Elite-Citizen Coalition in Tokyo, 1860s - 1880s

Maho Ikeda, Tokyo Metropolitan University, [email protected]

This paper examines the historical character of politics in modern Tokyo by distinguishing emerging elite entrepreneurs and journalists from traditional Edo merchants. Soon after the surrender of the Edo-jo Castle in 1868, the newly established Tokyo prefectural government took control of the city. Although the government restored public order quickly, it had no clear vision of urban governance at that point. Previous studies have emphasized lack of autonomy of the capital city, but in order to understand what exactly “lack of autonomy” means, we need to explore how certain part of Tokyo citizens took part in (or distanced themselves from) urban governance.

When the Tokyo prefectural assembly was established in 1878, it was not traditional Edo merchants but emerging intellectuals who led this representative body. Those intellectuals, who were mostly former samurai with rich Western knowledge, had developed interest and knowledge for the modern representative system while being deeply involved in political movements amid a series of crises in the last years of the Tokugawa shogunate. Their strong leadership resulted in the city’s relatively stable governance in the 1880s, but it inevitably discouraged the wealthy local merchants from seeking active participation. Drawing on Tokyo’s administrative archives, letters and newspaper articles, this paper reconstructs the transformation process of political order in the capital city of Japan following the Meiji Restoration.