Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Reinventing Citizenship

Reinventing Citizenship: Black Los Angeles, Korean Kawasaki, and Community Participation

Kazuyo Tsuchiya
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Reinventing Citizenship
    Book Description:

    In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States and Japan went through massive welfare expansions that sparked debates about citizenship. At the heart of these disputes stood African Americans and Koreans.Reinventing Citizenshipoffers a comparative study of African American welfare activism in Los Angeles and Koreans' campaigns for welfare rights in Kawasaki. In working-class and poor neighborhoods in both locations, African Americans and Koreans sought not only to be recognized as citizens but also to become legitimate constituting members of communities.

    Local activists in Los Angeles and Kawasaki ardently challenged the welfare institutions. By creating opposition movements and voicing alternative visions of citizenship, African American leaders, Tsuchiya argues, turned Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty into a battle for equality. Koreans countered the city's and the nation's exclusionary policies and asserted their welfare rights. Tsuchiya's work exemplifies transnational antiracist networking, showing how black religious leaders traveled to Japan to meet Christian Korean activists and to provide counsel for their own struggles.

    Reinventing Citizenshipreveals how race and citizenship transform as they cross countries and continents. By documenting the interconnected histories of African Americans and Koreans in Japan, Tsuchiya enables us to rethink present ideas of community and belonging.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-4084-7
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Introduction: Los Angeles and Kawasaki as Arenas of Struggle over Citizenship
    (pp. 1-14)

    On April 3, 1966, three hundred fifty people gathered to protest the dismissal of African American social worker and activist Opal C. Jones from her position as the executive director of the Neighborhood Adult Participation Project (NAPP), one of the most popular and influential antipoverty programs in Los Angeles.¹ Throughout the operation of its programs, NAPP aimed at providing training and employment opportunities for adults, as well as making the voices of “the poor” heard. Jones worked closely with African American politicians like Augustus Hawkins, who was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1962, and Thomas Bradley, who won the...

  2. 1 Between Inclusion and Exclusion: The Origins of the U.S. Community Action Program
    (pp. 15-42)

    Chapter 1 examines the ways in which the Community Action Program (CAP) and its doctrine of “maximum feasible participation” of the poor emerged. It analyzes how the goals of CAP have changed over time, up until the 1964 passage of the Economic Opportunity Act.¹ At that time the War on Poverty became an apparatus for transforming the poor into productive and participatory citizens for the sake of the development of economic wealth and the war against Communism. CAP and the War on Poverty were attractive to the architects of the Economic Opportunity Act because they could be effective tools to...

  3. 2 Fostering Community and Nationhood: Japan’s Model Community Program
    (pp. 43-58)

    I now introduce the case of Japan and analyze the ways in which the participatory schemes produced different results when transplanted to Japan. In response to the ascendancy of residents’ movements and oppositional left-wing parties, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)-controlled national government created the Model Community Program (Moderu komyunitī shisakuorkeikaku). The residents’ movements that had been expanding since the mid-1960s and that had been dealing with various kinds of issues such askōgai(environmental pollution), industrial development, prices, and welfare had a great impact on both national and local politics.¹ Indeed, during times of perceived national crises, the...

  4. 3 Struggling for Political Voice: Race and the Politics of Welfare in Los Angeles
    (pp. 59-80)

    Through a case study of the War on Poverty in Los Angeles, I investigate how African American leaders forcefully challenged city government and voiced alternative visions of citizenship in the 1960s.¹ During this time, black middle-class leaders transformed the War on Poverty programs, especially the Community Action Program, into a significant channel through which new political opportunities could be pursued. These efforts resulted in a change in the political status of African American residents in Los Angeles. While analyzing how these African American leaders embraced and reshaped the War on Poverty, I also discuss such issues as divisions among the...

  5. 4 Recasting the Community Action Program: The Pursuit of Race, Class, and Gender Equality in Los Angeles
    (pp. 81-116)

    With the establishment of the Economic and Youth Opportunities Agency of Greater Los Angeles (EYOA), the War on Poverty officially began. In this chapter, I examine how local activists in South Central Los Angeles turned the concept of “maximum feasible participation” into a weapon in the battle for welfare rights. They forcefully challenged the official local/federal antipoverty institutions—EYOA and the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO)—and created oppositional discourses that could work against them.

    In the first section, I focus on one of the major antipoverty programs in Los Angeles: the Neighborhood Adult Participation Project (NAPP). NAPP was funded...

  6. 5 Translating Black Theology into Korean Activism: The Hitachi Employment Discrimination Trial
    (pp. 117-138)

    In chapters 5 and 6, I shed light on the struggles of the new generation ofzainichiKoreans in the 1970s and early 1980s and the impact of their activism on the reorganization of citizenship. Through this examination of Kawasaki, with a special focus on the movement led by Korean churches and the Seikyusha organization, I investigate how Korean residents challenged discriminatory employment practices, redefined themselves in the Japanese welfare state, and created an alternative model of “community.” I demonstrate how they succeeded in transforming Kawasaki into a bastion of equal rights, forging the so-called Kawasaki system, whereby a city...

  7. 6 Voicing Alternative Visions of Citizenship: The “Kawasaki System” of Welfare
    (pp. 139-162)

    The Kawasaki Koreans’ struggles over citizenship signaled a new phase after the Hitachi Employment Discrimination Trial. Kawasaki Koreans expanded their activism by establishing a welfare foundation named Seikyusha (Seikyurefers to the Korean Peninsula) and developing the Sakuramoto School (Sakuramoto Gakuen), which supported its graduates. Through Seikyusha and the Sakuramoto School, they sought to abolish the nationality clause, thereby challenging the narrow definition of Japanese citizenship. First they took aim at specific city welfare and education programs that had historically excluded Koreans, such as an allowance for dependent children, the right to public housing, a bulletin of elementary schools, and...

  8. Conclusion: The Interconnectedness of Oppression and Freedom
    (pp. 163-170)

    Despite the divergent directions, strategies, and outcomes of discourses on community and citizenship in the Community Action Program and the Model Community Program, comparable frameworks have offered an opportunity to see some parallels. Both CAP and the MCP were political responses to perceived national “crises” brought about by social movements in the 1960s. Transforming dissenters into active and participatory citizens was the main answer to those crises. Policy makers and scholars introduced this tactic of participation and used it as a main strategy for the construction of community programs.¹ Consequently, these community programs reconstituted what Etienne Balibar once named the...