Beyond the Metropolis: Second Cities and Modern Life in by Louise Young

By Louise Young

In past the city, Louise younger seems to be on the emergence of urbanism within the interwar interval, an international second while the fabric and ideological constructions that represent "the city" took their attribute smooth form. In Japan, as in other places, towns turned the staging floor for extensive ranging social, cultural, monetary, and political changes. the increase of social difficulties, the formation of a shopper industry, the proliferation of streetcars and streetcar suburbs, and the cascade of investments in city improvement reinvented the town as either socio-spatial shape and set of principles. younger tells this tale throughout the optic of the provincial urban, interpreting 4 second-tier towns: Sapporo, Kanazawa, Niigata, and Okayama. As prefectural capitals, those towns constituted facilities in their respective areas. All 4 grew at a massive cost within the interwar a long time, a lot because the metropolitan giants did. despite their commonalities, neighborhood stipulations intended that guidelines of nationwide improvement and the vagaries of the company cycle affected person towns in assorted methods. As their modifications display, there is not any unmarried grasp narrative of 20th century modernization. by way of enticing city tradition past the city, this examine indicates that eastern modernity was once now not made in Tokyo and exported to the provinces, yet particularly co-constituted throughout the circulate and alternate of individuals and concepts through the nation and past.

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THE GO-GO ECONOMY AND THE NARIKIN The economic volatility and dramatic physical transformation of these years were mirrored in the domain of urban society. More than anything else, the WORLD WAR ONE AND THE CIT Y IDEA • 23 figure of the narikin, or nouveau riche, came to symbolize the social effects of the war boom. Taken from a Japanese chess move that aggrandized a pawn into a more powerful piece, the term was applied after the Russo-Japanese War to a handful of speculators like Suzuki Kyūgorō, who got rich quick playing the stock market.

7 As an Okayama factory survey of 1921 showed, not only did World War One trigger a numerical rise in factories, it also impelled transformation of existing factory production, both in terms of scale (number of workers) and the shift to steam- and gas-powered mechanization. Even the growth of small factories (employing fewer than ten laborers) signaled a shift in the meaning of production, for the war boom generated a movement from household manufacture and the putting-out system to factory-based manufacture of goods such as furniture, lacquerware, tatami mats, umbrellas, and geta (traditional Japanese wooden clogs).

This chapter examines the creation of a new cultural geography that privileged Tokyo and marginalized its outside world—a geography that defined Japan in terms of Tokyo and its Others. In the circulation of people and ideas set in motion by the modernizing project of the Meiji state, Japan’s cities redefined themselves in relation to other urban centers. Just as Tokyo’s metropolitan identity was constructed against a rural imaginary—the chihō, or provinces—Tokyo provided the Other against which local cities forged their own self-conceptions.

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