Beyond the Metropolis: Second Cities and Modern Life in Interwar Japan

By Louise Young | Go to book overview

THREE
Colonizing the Country

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 of both material and ideological forces—the operation of labor and commodity markets, the geographic distribution of industry and agriculture, and ideologies of progress and development.1 For Japan, the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries constituted a time of transformation in the urban-rural relationship. This process began in the latter part of the Tokugawa period, as rural industrialization and the growth of merchant capital in villages and along the main transportation routes created cracks in a political economy centered on castle towns and their enfeoffed rural estates.2 Incorporation into a world economy in the late nineteenth century accelerated and redirected the pace of change, vastly expanding the scale of industry and shifting its locus to the large metropolitan centers along Japan’s Pacific coast. After the explosive urban growth that followed in the teens and twenties, the proliferation of industrial centers forced a reorientation of rural economies, breaking down the old patterns of self-sufficiency and obstacles to demographic mobility that were characteristic of the Tokugawa socioeconomy and replacing them with a new dependency on the urban market.

Discourses on urban growth and development that circulated through the city planning movement and the domestic tourist industry naturalized the new order of urban hegemony taking form. In city guides, travel magazines, and planning documents, local boosters promoted a vision of urban triumphalism that positioned the city at the vanguard of progress and cast the

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Beyond the Metropolis: Second Cities and Modern Life in Interwar Japan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Part One - Contexts 1
  • Introduction - Urbanism and Japanese Modern 3
  • One - World War One and the City Idea 15
  • Part Two - Geo-Power and Urban-Centrism 35
  • Two - The Ideology of the Metropolis 37
  • Three - Colonizing the Country 83
  • Part Three - Modern Times and the City Idea 139
  • Four - The Past in the Present 141
  • Five - The Cult of the New 188
  • Epilogue - Urbanism and Twentieth-Century Japan 240
  • Notes 259
  • Bibliography 287
  • Index 297
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