Urban Culture in Pre-War Japan: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Urban Culture in Pre-War Japan

1st Edition

By Adam Thorin Croft


256 pages | 12 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138392014
pub: 2019-05-27
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Politically the 1910s and 1920s were dark days for Japan: economic instability, frequent political assassinations, and increasing violent military interventions at home and overseas affected many. This book explores the literature of the period, showing how it contributed to this overall mood. It focuses on the Tatsukawa Library, an unusual collection of historical military chronicles based on traditions of popular storytelling found in yose (vaudeville theatres) — a network of small theatrical venues that provided the masses living and working in Japan’s major cities with affordable entertainment. The extreme popularity of the Tatsukawa Library capitalised on local advances in Western-style printing, which facilitated a new wave of literature that appealed especially to young, marginalised, economically-insecure urban youths. It discusses how the content of the books, which focused on historical samurai struggling heroically against adverse circumstances, helped inculcate the generation that fought for Japan’s emerging empire with admiration for marital violence. This book also examines how this outlook fitted with the Japanese state’s own outlook and official propaganda.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Contextualising the Tatsukawa Bunko, 2. Transitional Literature: Advances in Popular Publishing, 3. Human Networks: Cholera, Mass Migration, & Publishing Rivalries, 4. Resonant Voices: Performative Traditions in a Time of Mass Media, 5.Hyper-masculinity in Sarutobi-Sasuke: Decoding Transcultural Influences in the Text, 6. Reflections of Industrial Urbanism: Hyper-masculinity & Social Violence During the Taishō Era

About the Author

Adam Croft is an Honorary Lecturer in the School of Culture, History and Language in the College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University, Canberra.

About the Series

Media, Culture and Social Change in Asia

The aim of this series is to publish original, high-quality work by both new and established scholars in the West and the East, on all aspects of media, culture and social change in Asia. New proposals are welcome, and should be sent in the first instance to the series editor, Stephanie Donald, at Stephanie@stephaniedonald.info.

Editorial Board:

Gregory N. Evon, University of New South Wales
Devleena Ghosh, University of Technology, Sydney
Peter Horsfield, RMIT University, Melbourne
Michael Keane, Curtin University
Tania Lewis, RMIT University, Melbourne
Vera Mackie, University of Wollongong
Kama Maclean, University of New South Wales

Laikwan Pang, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Gary Rawnsley, Aberystwyth University
Ming-yeh Rawnsley, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Jo Tacchi, Lancaster University
Adrian Vickers, University of Sydney
Jing Wang, MIT
Ying Zhu, City University of New York



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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General