Beyond the Metropolis
Second Cities and Modern Life in Interwar Japan
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication
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...Among the great pleasures of doing research in Japan are the friends one accumulates along the way. Th is study took me to four cities and introduced me to wonderful communities of local historians and archivists in each. By remarkable good fortune, I embarked on my research around the centennial of the incorporation of most of Japan’s second cities...
Part One: Contexts
Introduction: Urbanism and Japanese Modern
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...In Japan, the interwar period (1918–37) constituted a time of intensive reflection on what it meant to be “modern.” At a moment of rapid urbanization, as expanding city populations remade the social and physical landscapes of their communities, the Japanese began to link modernity with the urban experience. Popular referents for the neologism...
1 World War One and the City Idea
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...In the new wave of investments triggered by World War One, the focus of Japan’s economic expectations shifted from the nation to the city, where the capitalist revolution’s deepening impact was most dramatically felt. Sudden and rapid urban growth stretched the capabilities of city services and strained the seams of the built environment. The war...
Part Two: Geo-Power and Urban-Centrism
2 The Ideology of the Metropolis
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...One of the most striking effects of Japan’s modernization project of the late nineteenth century was the rising prominence and increasing centrality of Tokyo within the new national space. By the 1920s, Meiji government policies of national developmentalism pursued since the 1870s had built Tokyo up and transformed it into the control room for nationwide political parties, the seat of national government and apex...
3 Colonizing the Country
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...As Raymond Williams famously observed, the city-country binary constitutes one of the most prominent tropes of modernity. The opposition between the two, as well as their mutual dependency, emerged as a fundamental condition of industrial capitalism. Moreover, this new relationship between city and country was the product...
Part Three: Modern Times and the City Idea
4 The Past in the Present
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...The urban juggernaut of the early twentieth century created new challenges for cities as they tried to deal with the dramatic changes in everyday life. Former castle towns, battered by Meiji reforms that had undercut the towns’ source of feudal privilege, recovered and began to grow at a swift pace. The population churn generated by an increasingly mobile labor force destabilized urban communities...
5 The Cult of the New
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...The social and cultural movements of the interwar years expressed a fascination with “the new”—the new products, new fads, new pastimes, new lifestyles, and new types of men and women that erupted onto the urban landscape, only to be replaced with the new “new.” Th e regional turn reflected in the local-history movement also expressed itself through...
Epilogue: Urbanism and Twentieth-Century Japan
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...In visible and invisible ways, the urban expansion of the interwar period left its mark on the twentieth century. As urban projects created a network of urban-centered institutions that sustained the modern city, urbanism entwined itself with modern life and became the face of the future. Th e underlying foundations of the urban form and the city idea laid down in these years have proved remarkably tenacious...
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Other Works in the Series
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Page Count: 326
Publication Year: 2013