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Beyond the MetropolisSecond Cities and Modern Life in Interwar Japan$
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Louise Young

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520275201

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520275201.001.0001

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World War One and the City Idea

World War One and the City Idea

Chapter:
(p.15) One World War One and the City Idea
Source:
Beyond the Metropolis
Author(s):

Louise Young

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520275201.003.0002

Why did urban change become a fixation in the wake of the World War One? What caused the “discovery of the city”? Chapter 1 focuses on the question of historical moment, explaining why a discourse on the modern emerged with such peculiar force in teens and twenties. In part the answer lies in the economic boom of World War One, which spurred the rapid growth of Japanese commerce and industry. Its impact was felt primarily at the municipal level, where ballooning populations and a construction boom transformed cityscapes throughout the country. Urban expansion changed the way people thought about the city as a social and economic space. In the new imaginary, cities became sites of explosive growth and instability, symbolized in the conspicuous consumption of the nouveau rich and the collective violence of the working poor.

Keywords:   World War One, nouveau rich, urban crowd, industrialization, urban growth

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