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Hard Times in the HometownA History of Community Survival in Modern Japan$
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Martin Dusinberre

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835248

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835248.001.0001

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The Political Culture of the Meiji Village

The Political Culture of the Meiji Village

(p.53) 4 The Political Culture of the Meiji Village
Hard Times in the Hometown

Martin Dusinberre

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter looks at how historian Irokawa Daikichi discovered a set of late-nineteenth-century documents, including a draft of a people's constitution. These materials led to the revelation that the village leaders and the men who drafted that constitution, hitherto unknown to history, were family men—in other words, “commoners” with deep ties to the life of the people. Irokawa's discovery and subsequent book Meiji no bunka (The Culture of Meiji Japan) propelled “the people” to the fore of postwar historiographical debates in Japan. The chapter also shows how the rediscovered village records of both Murotsu and Kaminoseki offer a different portrait of the political culture of the Meiji period than that suggested by the Fukasawa storehouse documents.

Keywords:   Irokawa Daikichi, Meiji period, political culture, Meiji no bunka, Murotsu, Kaminoseki, Fukasawa

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