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The State and Labor in Modern Japan

The State and Labor in Modern Japan

Sheldon Garon
Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 326
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1ppmfg
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  • Book Info
    The State and Labor in Modern Japan
    Book Description:

    In this meticulously researched study, Sheldon Garon examines the evolution of Japan's governmental policies toward labor from the late nineteenth century to the present day, and he substantially revises prevailing views which depict relations between the Japanese state and labor simply in terms of suppression and mutual antagonism.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-90980-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Note on Japanese Names
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-9)

    Japan entered the 1980s with a new confidence in its institutions and culture. In the present age of MITI and microchips, the Japanese have clearly laid to rest their former reputation as mere imitators of the West. Indeed, Americans now speak of the singular success of Japanese institutions in coping with the problems of modern industrial society, and many point to specific aspects as models for our own country.¹

    This has been particularly true in the case of Japan’s famed labormanagement relations. The worker’s “lifetime” commitment to his company and the preponderance of cooperative enterprise unions are the envy of...

  7. CHAPTER I The Origins of Japanese Social Policy, 1868–1918
    (pp. 10-38)

    In 1868, a league of domains(han)from southwestern Japan overthrew the Tokugawa shogunate and proceeded to establish a modern centralized state in the name of the Meiji emperor. Japan was at the time a predominantly agrarian society with some 80 percent of the working population engaged in agriculture and at most 5 percent in manufacturing. Over the next four decades, Japanese society experienced a pace of industrialization rarely seen in the nineteenth-century world. Mechanized factories first appeared on a widespread basis in the late 1880s, but an astounding 84 percent of the nation’s 8,612 companies as of 1902 were...

  8. CHAPTER II A Crisis in Relations between Labor and Capital, 1918–22
    (pp. 39-72)

    Political and economic changes associated with World War I forced a reexamination of Japan’s alleged harmony between workers and owners. In September 1918, the Home Ministry sent a rising young police officer to survey conditions in the aftermath of the rice riots. His influential report described a widespread “crisis in relations between Labor and Capital.”³ From ordinary workers to cabinet ministers, Japanese questioned fundamental assumptions about the nation’s labor-management relations more in the months following the Armistice of November 1918 than during years of debate over factory legislation. According to one survey by the police, the number of titles published...

  9. CHAPTER III The Social Bureaucrats and the Integration of Labor, 1918–27
    (pp. 73-119)

    History has not dealt kindly with the bureaucracy of interwar Japan. In most accounts, elite bureaucrats, when they are mentioned at all, appear as the conservative opponents of “Taisho democracy.” They harass progressive intellectuals, break up labor rallies, and attack the legitimacy of party rule. Although the image is not entirely false, it does not explain a central paradox of “Taisho democracy.” The initiative behind many of the most important democratizing reforms of the 1920s came not so much from the bourgeois parties—and certainly not from the weak social democratic movement—but rather from activist cliques of higher civil...

  10. CHAPTER IV The Politics of Social Policy, 1924–29
    (pp. 120-156)

    Japanese politics experienced its own “change of direction” during 1924. The installation of yet another nonparty government, the Kiyoura cabinet, precipitated a fundamental restructuring of the major parties. Indeed, the majority Seiyūkai split in two over the question of whether to support Kiyoura. The schism brought an end to the Seiyūkai's nearly total domination of the Lower House over the past two decades. Factional cleavages first appeared following the assassination of Seiyūkai president Hara Takashi in 1921. The elder statesmen(genrō)added fuel to the fire in 1922 when they selected an admiral to be prime minister, rather than reappoint...

  11. CHAPTER V The Limits of Liberal Reform, 1929–31
    (pp. 157-186)

    Amid a general critique of the interwar parties, the eminent political and intellectual historian Maruyama Masao once wrote that the Minseitō’s Hamaguchi cabinet and the succeeding Wakatsuki cabinet possessed “the strongest complexion ofbourgeoisliberalism in the recent history of Japanese politics.”² Others have similarly remarked on the coherent liberal worldview put forward by the Hamaguchi government (July 1929—April 1931).³ Shidehara Kijūrō, who previously served the Kenseikai cabinets as foreign minister, returned to his post determined to further policies of close cooperation with the Anglo-American powers. In contrast to the interventionist Tanaka Giichi, Shidehara and Hamaguchi adopted a conciliatory...

  12. CHAPTER VI The Statist Solution, 1931–45
    (pp. 187-228)

    Mr. Sackett may be forgiven his confusion regarding Japanese politics during the country’s “Fifteen-Years War” (1931–45). It was a time when the press bandied ideological labels about, when self-styled “renovationists”(kakushin-ha)of various stripes struggled to rescue the state from “liberal” politicians and capitalists. To American Occupation authorities in 1945, the Japanese transgressions against liberal democracy were apparent enough. The parliamentary parties had steadily lost influence in successive “whole-nation cabinets” and were eventually pressured to dissolve themselves in 1940. The imperial government also engineered the dissolution of the nation’s labor unions that same year and set up in their...

  13. Epilogue: Legacies for Postwar Japan
    (pp. 229-248)

    It used to be the custom to conclude historical studies of twentiethcentury Japan in 1940 or 1941. The tragic endpoints of war and authoritarian rule presented the historian with a difficult choice. One could point to the “road not taken”—for example, to the failure of the political parties and socialist movement to resist militarism. Or one could more positively conclude that the interwar parties or labor unions made respectable inroads, considering their novelty. The historian’s singular focus on the prewar era was natural in the years immediately following Japan’s defeat in 1945. However, more than forty years have passed,...

  14. APPENDIX I: INDUSTRIAL STRIKES, 1897–1941
    (pp. 249-250)
  15. APPENDIX II: CABINETS AND MINISTERS RELATED TO LABOR POLICY, 1908–32
    (pp. 250-251)
  16. APPENDIX III: STRIKE-RELATED ARRESTS UNDER ARTICLE 17 OF THE POLICE REGULATIONS AND OTHER CHARGES, 1914–26
    (pp. 252-252)
  17. APPENDIX IV: OCCUPATIONAL BACKGROUND OF THE NONPROLETARIAN PARTIES, LOWER HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES, 1920–30
    (pp. 253-253)
  18. APPENDIX V: AN OUTLINE OF LABOR UNION BILLS
    (pp. 254-255)
  19. APPENDIX VI: LABOR UNIONS AND UNION MEMBERSHIP, 1918–41
    (pp. 256-256)
  20. Abbreviations Used in the Notes
    (pp. 257-258)
  21. Notes
    (pp. 259-294)
  22. Bibliography
    (pp. 295-316)
  23. Index
    (pp. 317-326)
  24. Back Matter
    (pp. 327-327)