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Down and Out in Late Meiji Japan$
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James L. Huffman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780824872915

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824872915.001.0001

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The Sun Also Shone

The Sun Also Shone

Embracing Life

(p.155) Chapter 6 The Sun Also Shone
Down and Out in Late Meiji Japan

James L. Huffman

University of Hawai'i Press

The brighter aspects of hinmin life are examined here, with poor people seen as agents who embraced challenges and sought to enjoy life. At work, many found meaning in what they did, even as they strove to advance and engaged in individual acts of protest. In the political sphere, it is clear that hinmin were heavily involved in the public protests and riots that marked the late-Meiji years—and that they had a significant impact. At home, they read newspapers in surprising numbers, created communities that, over time, began to resemble the village communities from which they had come, and they worked to improve their finances and their lives. Beyond that, the hinmin were celebrators. Their participation in street markets, in holidays, in seasonal celebrations such as blossom-viewing, and in temple festivals is detailed, with an emphasis on the the Asakusa temples and entertainment centers.

Keywords:   Agents, Street markets, Blossom-viewing (hanami), Asakusa, Festivals

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