By Louise Young
In past the city, Louise younger appears to be like on the emergence of urbanism within the interwar interval, a world second whilst the fabric and ideological buildings that represent "the city" took their attribute sleek form. In Japan, as somewhere else, towns grew to become the staging floor for broad ranging social, cultural, monetary, and political differences. the increase of social difficulties, the formation of a client market, the proliferation of streetcars and streetcar suburbs, and the cascade of investments in city improvement reinvented town as either socio-spatial shape and set of rules. younger tells this tale throughout the optic of the provincial urban, analyzing 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 major price within the interwar many years, a lot because the metropolitan giants did. regardless of their commonalities, neighborhood stipulations intended that rules of nationwide improvement and the vagaries of the company cycle affected person towns in different methods. As their adjustments display, there is not any unmarried grasp narrative of 20th century modernization. by means of enticing city tradition past the city, this learn indicates that jap modernity was once no longer made in Tokyo and exported to the provinces, yet fairly co-constituted during the flow and alternate of individuals and ideas during the kingdom and past.
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Additional info for Beyond the Metropolis: Second Cities and Modern Life in Interwar Japan
World War One marked the onset of a new level of urban violence, as the eruption of popular rage in the rice riots of the summer of 1918 underscored the instability of urban society. And just as the accelerated urbanization of these years generated new meanings of the city in terms of physical space and economic function, the rice riots heightened fears that modern urban society was violently unpredictable and constituted a serious threat to political order. Volatile rice prices provided the trigger for the riots that engulfed the country in the hot summer of 1918.
Thus, through good fortune and hard work, the humble tofu boy had bootstrapped his way to a position of wealth and social influence. Self-made men like Yamamoto united the good capitalist and his more dangerous twin in the new figure of the narikin, who was redefining the face of the urban economy. Yamamoto’s rags-to-riches story modified the existing narrative of the narikin in other ways as well. Like other wartime parvenus, Yamamoto achieved notoriety both for his good deeds and his outrageous behavior.
What with bicycles, jinrickshas, horse- and ox-drawn carts, and streetcars all sharing the roads with automobiles, “traffic” was beginning to register among the growing host of urban social problems. Although Kanazawa had leveled large sections of the downtown to create the new arterial road system that led through the city center, traffic surveys conducted barely a few years after road construction was completed revealed a new crisis at hand. A survey in April 1921 measuring the amount of traffic that traversed a level crossing near Kanazawa station showed that in a single day, on average, 5,976 pedestrians, 234 bicycles, 703 wagons, 49 carriages, and 5 automobiles made the crossing.
Beyond the Metropolis: Second Cities and Modern Life in Interwar Japan by Louise Young