The seminar's members, representing the full range of academic disciplines that bear upon the study of Japan and including Japan specialists from government, business, and the nonprofit sectors, meet regularly to discuss scholarly papers on all aspects of modern Japan, from history, literature, art, and the performing arts to politics, economics, social issues, and the US-Japan bilateral relationship.

Seminar: #445

Founded: 1960

May 21, 2008

November 14, 2008
Mary Alice Haddad (Wesleyan University)
From State to Society: Democratizing Japan's Traditional, Community-based Organizations

At the end of World War II, Japan's traditional, community-based organizations exemplified undemocratic civil society: they were insular, hierarchical, sexist, racist, and highly integrated into a clientelistic local government. This paper tells the story of how, over the course of the next half century, these organizations have adjusted their values, institutions, and practices to become compatible with and contribute to the construction of Japanese democracy. The paper also explains the timing of this shift, which has occurred in the last decade or so, as a result of generational change and reduction in the financial power of the local government.
Discussant: Sheldon Garon (Princeton)