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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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Residents into Citizens: The Fate of Pragmatic Civic Activism

Residents into Citizens: The Fate of Pragmatic Civic Activism

(p.148) Chapter 4 Residents into Citizens: The Fate of Pragmatic Civic Activism
Making Japanese Citizens

Simon Andrew Avenell

University of California Press

The history of Beheiren reveals how a conscientious model of civic activism born during the Anpo struggle could be married to more parochial and deep-seated commitments to the ethnic nation and the Pan-Asian struggle against the United States' imperialism. The period from around 1963 to 1975 is generally understood as the high point of citizen protest in postwar Japan. Pressure from thousands of antipollution and antidevelopment movements forced elites in business and government to address the dark side of economic growth through legislation, administrative reform, and technological innovation. In turning to the history of environmental policy, the intellectuals of the movement and their role in developing this model of pragmatic civic activism hoped to provide an answer to all the ills. The chapter gives two interconnected processes in connection to the topic, and these are as follows: firstly, the development of ideas about self-help and self-reliance in local activism; and, secondly, theorizations and experimentations on citizen participation or shimin sanka in local government.

Keywords:   Beheiren, civic, activism, ethnic nation, citizen

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