Seki Hajime and Social Progressivism in Prewar Japan
Seki Hajime had a visionary plan to reinvent the city of Osaka, where he served benevolently from 1914 to 1935. He threw himself into the pursuit of urban social reform when he was named mayor, and by 1923 he had made residential reform the pillar of his urban social reformism, and the creation of working-class garden suburbs its central objective. To Seki, the city was a dynamic social organism whose development and well-being were predicated on the welfare of the classes, families, and other groups who inhabited it, while his adversaries, such as landowners and bureaucrats, treated it as an economic subject. Seki gained fame from his fight against capitalism and statism. He also fought mightily for metropolitan autonomy in the hope of freeing the municipal government to extend urban planning to Osaka's still-undeveloped hinterlands.
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