Civic Engagement in Postwar Japan: The Revival of a Defeated by Rieko Kage

By Rieko Kage

Regardless of lowered earning, decreased possibilities for schooling, and the mental trauma of defeat, Japan skilled a speedy upward thrust in civic engagement within the speedy aftermath of global conflict II. Why? Civic Engagement in Postwar Japan solutions this question with a brand new normal thought of the expansion in civic engagement in postwar democracies. It argues that wartime mobilization by accident instills civic talents within the citizenry, hence laying the basis for a postwar civic engagement increase. in the meantime, legacies of prewar associational actions form the prices of association-building and information-gathering, therefore affecting the particular volume of the postwar increase. Combining unique facts assortment, rigorous statistical equipment, and in-depth old case analyses, this e-book illuminates one of many keys to creating postwar democracies paintings.

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For women’s groups, for instance, the Fujin Nenkan [Women’s Almanac], first published in 1920, then annually between 1936 and 1940, and also between 1948 and 1950, provides a wealth of information on the major women’s organizations that were in existence during the period under study. For youth/recreational groups, information from the Nihon Bunka Dantai Nenkan and the Mainichi Nenkan was supplemented by surveys of youth organizations compiled by the Ministry of Education in 1939, 1940, and 1942.

Membership in the Nada Kobe Consumer Cooperatives’ Union, 1921–1956. Source: Nada Kobe Seikatsu Kyodo Kumiai (1971). membership crept up to around 400,000 by 1940. During World War II, the consumer cooperatives were repressed for their allegedly communistic leanings, which brought their activities to a halt in many places. However, the cooperatives bounced back quickly after the war. 9 shows a dramatic rise in membership in the postwar period; in 1949, the first year for which postwar data are available, the membership figure, at 670,000, already vastly surpassed the prior membership peak.

Not surprisingly, the YMCAs in all cities saw a drastic decline in memberships between 1940 and 1945. The Kyoto YMCA’s membership, in particular, fell almost 85 percent between 1943 and 1945, from 1,363 to 215 members; the Osaka YMCA also lost more than 80 percent of its members during the same period, from 632 members in 1943 to 120 members in 1945. These figures make the postwar rise of the YMCA all the more remarkable. Surviving prewar data for the YWCA Japan, the Boy Scouts Japan, and the Girl Scouts Japan are much more limited compared to the YMCA, and therefore the figures must be interpreted with some caution.

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