By Harry D. Harootunian

ISBN-10: 0691006504

ISBN-13: 9780691006505

In the many years among the 2 international Wars, Japan made a dramatic access into the trendy age, increasing its capital industries and urbanizing so fast as to rival many long-standing Western commercial societies. How the japanese made feel of the surprising transformation and the following upward push of mass tradition is the focal point of Harry Harootunian's interesting inquiry into the issues of modernity. the following he examines the paintings of a new release of eastern intellectuals who, like their ecu opposite numbers, observed modernity as a spectacle of ceaseless swap that uprooted the dominant ancient tradition from its fastened values and substituted a tradition in accordance with fable and hope. Harootunian not just explains why the japanese valued philosophical understandings of those occasions, usually over sociological or empirical reasons, but additionally locates Japan's adventure of modernity inside a bigger international technique marked by means of either modernism and fascism.

What stuck the eye of eastern thinkers was once how the creation of wish really threatened ancient tradition. those intellectuals sought to "overcome" the materialism and consumerism linked to the West, relatively the us. They proposed types of a modernity rooted in cultural authenticity and geared toward infusing that means into lifestyle, even if via artwork, reminiscence, or neighborhood. Harootunian lines those rules within the works of Yanagita Kunio, Tosaka Jun, Gonda Yasunosuke, and Kon Wajiro, between others, and relates their arguments to these of such ecu writers as George Simmel, Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, and Georges Bataille.

Harootunian indicates that jap and ecu intellectuals shared a number of the related issues, and likewise stresses that neither Japan's involvement with fascism nor its past due access into the capitalist, commercial scene should still reason historians to view its event of modernity as an oddity. the writer argues that lines of fascism ran all through so much each nation in Europe and in lots of methods resulted from modernizing developments typically. This booklet, written through a number one pupil of contemporary Japan, quantities to a tremendous reinterpretation of the character of Japan's modernity.

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Additional info for Overcome by Modernity: History, Culture, and Community in Interwar Japan

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I am indebted to the Stanford Humanities Center for giving me a year of solid research time. The cordiality of the center’s director and staff made my stay there pleasant. I want to express my appreciation to the staff of Columbia University’s Starr Library who made their resources available to me, and to Katsuhiko Endo and Ken Kawashima for reading and discussing with me a number of texts that have been important to my account. I would like also to note publicly my gratitude to my editor Brigitta van Rheinberg of Princeton University Press for her encouragement, support, and kindness in seeing the manuscript through to print.

In this respect, women entered the workforce in large numbers in the postwar years. Until 1930 factory hands were predominately women, whereas workers in the nonmanufacturing sector were largely male. Yet, if the figures of Kagawa and Ando¯ are to be believed, tens of thousands of young women streamed into the “pleasure zones” to staff their large entertainment quarters, cafes, coffee shops, bars, dance halls, and theaters, and to service the sex trade. 13 Kagawa and Ando¯ estimated that in 1924 there were a little more than 50,000 prostitutes throughout the 12 CHAPTER ONE country servicing an average of two to three men daily.

These “modern girls” became the heroes of this new, feminized culture announced by Hirabayashi. The new modern life was figured first in discourse, as fantasy, before it was ubiquitously lived as experience, and its major elements were independent women, commodities, and mass consumption. What this fantasizing discourse inadvertently inspired was not only the fear of progressive social disorder and conflict but also the growing sense that the processes guaranteeing cultural reproduction (not to forget biological reproduction) were in danger of disappearing altogether.

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Overcome by Modernity: History, Culture, and Community in Interwar Japan by Harry D. Harootunian


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