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Making Japanese CitizensCivil Society and the Mythology of the Shimin in Postwar Japan$
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Simon Andrew Avenell

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520262706

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520262706.001.0001

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Before the Shimin: The Dark Energy of the People

Before the Shimin: The Dark Energy of the People

Chapter:
(p.20) Chapter 1 Before the Shimin: The Dark Energy of the People
Source:
Making Japanese Citizens
Author(s):

Simon Andrew Avenell

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520262706.003.0002

Earlier or in the exact year of 1960, the conservative behavior of the shimin idea and civic activism started with anti-security treaty protest. In the past, the word shimin was not used by many whenever they were using the term in connection to politics because most people would sense a negative meaning of this word. For most Marxists, shimin and shimin Shakai or civil society amounted merely to the bourgeoisie and bourgeois society, and it could be a step on the path to somewhere better. In the first part of this chapter, the interventions of the philosopher Tsurumi Shunsuke and his intellectual club, the Institute for the Science of Thought or Shisō no Kagaku Kenkyūkai, formed in 1946 by Tsurumi, his sister Kazuko, and a group of like-minded academics is discussed. In the second part of this chapter, the independent cultural circle or sākuru activism of the 1950s—the training ground for later citizens' movements is also elaborated upon.

Keywords:   shimin, Marxist, Japan, civic activism, anti-security treaty, shimin Shakai, civil society, bourgeoisie

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