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Although local neighborhood associations are found in many countries, Japan’s are distinguished by their ubiquity, scope of activities, and very high participation rates, making them important for the study of society and politics. Most Japanese belong to one local neighborhood association or another, making them Japan’s most numerous civil society organization, and one that powerfully shapes governance outcomes in the country. And, they also often blur the state-society boundary, making them theoretically intriguing. Neighborhood Associations and Local Governance in Japan draws on a unique and novel body of empirical data derived from the first national survey of neighborhood associations carried out in 2007 and provides a multifaceted empirical portrait of Japan’s neighborhood associations. It examines how local associational structures affect the quality of local governance, and thus the quality of life for Japan’s citizens and residents, and illuminates the way in which these ambiguous associations can help us refine civil society theory and show how they contribute to governance. As well as outlining the key features of neighbourhood associations, the book goes on to examine in detail the way in which neighbourhood associations contribute to governance, in terms of social capital, networks with other community organizations, social service provision, cooperation with local governments and political participation. This book will be welcomed by students and scholars of Japanese politics, Japanese society, anthropology, urban studies as well as those interested in social capital and civil society.
"Fujita and Hill compare and contrast Tokyo's innovation structure with the industrial districts model and the international hub model in the literature on urban and regional development. The model embraces and yet transcends both industrial districts and international hub models. The authors provide key elements making up the Tokyo model--organizational knowledge creation, integral and co-location systems of corporate research and development and new product development, test markets, industrial districts and clusters, participative consumer culture, continuous learning from abroad, local government policies, the national system of innovation, and the historical genesis of Tokyo in Japan's political economy. They find that the Tokyo model of innovation will continue to evolve with the changing external environment, but fundamentally retain its main characteristics. The lessons from the Tokyo model is that openness, a diversified industrial base, the continuing development of new industries, and an emphasis on innovation all contribute to the dynamism of a major metropolitan region. This paper--a product of the Development Research Group--was prepared for the East Asia Prospect Study"--Abstract.
This book examines the evolution of intergovernmental relations in postwar Japan. These relations are shown to be both complex and dynamic, and the Japanese model is revealed as one in which aspects of both central control and local autonomy have co-existed with the balance shifting gradually over time towards the latter. The Japanese system has helped to maintain broad-based economic growth since it has at its core a strongly egalitarian fiscal transfer mechanism. At the same time, it has proved to be consistent, to a much greater extent than previously recognized, with political development, or progress in the attainment of such political values as liberty (personal rights) and equality (broad participation in public affairs) for individuals and communities. This is because the national government has proved flexible enough to accommodate, although not always with grace or alacrity, citizen concerns about the quality of life. The Japanese approach to intergovernmental relationships has also been successful in solving coordination problems which often arise between local and central government units and in building capacity to support greater and effective decentralization. Coordination problems have been handled through a variety of mechanisms including the practice of agency delegated functions, while local capacity issues have been addressed through such practices as the exchange of personnel across different levels of government and the use of attractive compensation and training packages to recruit and retain local staff. The Japanese experience thus provides an example of gradual and guided decentralization based on shared responsibilities between local and central governments for mobilizing, managing, and spending public resources in the pursuit of sustainable development.
Tokyo: Memory, Imagination, and the City is a collection of eight essays that explore Tokyo urban space from the perspective of memory in works of the imagination—novels, short stories, poetry, essays, and films. Written by scholars of Japanese studies based in England, Germany, Japan, and the United States, the book focuses on texts produced in Japan since the 1980s. The closing years of the Shōwa period (1926-1989) were a watershed decade of spatial transformation in Tokyo. It was also a time (in Japan, as elsewhere) when conversations about the nature of memory—historical, cultural, collective, and individual—intensified. The contributors to the volume share the view that works of the imagination are constitutive elements of how cities are experienced and perceived. Each of the essays responds to the growing interest in studies on Tokyo with a literary-cultural orientation.
In 1884, a Japanese sailor named Hamanosuke Shigeta made his way to the eastern section of downtown Los Angeles and opened Little Tokyo's first business, an American-style café. By the early 20th century, this neighborhood on the banks of the Los Angeles River had developed into a vibrant community serving the burgeoning Japanese American population of Southern California. When Japanese Americans were forcibly removed to internment camps in 1942 following the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States' entrance into World War II, Little Tokyo was rechristened "Bronzeville" as a newly established African American enclave popular for its jazz clubs and churches. Despite the War Relocation Authority's opposition to re-establishing Little Tokyo following the war, Japanese Americans gradually restored the strong ties evident today in 21st-century Little Tokyo--a multicultural, multigenerational community that is the largest Nihonmachi (Japantown) in the United States.
In the vastness of Tokyo these are tiny social units, and by the standards that most Americans would apply, they are perhaps far too small, geographically and demographically, to be considered "neighborhoods." Still, to residents of Tokyo and particularly to the residents of any given subsection of the city, they are socially significant and geographically distinguishable divisions of the urban landscape. In neighborhoods such as these, overlapping and intertwining associations and institutions provide an elaborate and enduring framework for local social life, within which residents are linked to one another not only through their participation in local organizations, but also through webs of informal social, economic, and political ties. This book is an ethnographic analysis of the social fabric and internal dynamics of one such neighborhood: Miyamoto-cho, a pseudonym for a residential and commercial district in Tokyo where the author carried out fieldwork from June 1979 to May 1981, and during several summers since. It is a study of the social construction and maintenance of a neighborhood in a society where such communities are said to be outmoded, even antithetical to the major trends of modernization and social change that have transformed Japan in the last hundred years. It is a study not of tradition as an aspect of historical continuity, but of traditionalism: the manipulation, invention, and recombination of cultural patterns, symbols, and motifs so as to legitimate contemporary social realities by imbuing them with a patina of venerable historicity. It is a study of often subtle and muted struggles between insiders and outsiders over those most ephemeral of the community's resources, its identity and sense of autonomy, enacted in the seemingly insubstantial idioms of cultural tradition.

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