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Products for grant FB-52452-06

The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860-1960
Eiko Siniawer, Presidents and Trustees of Williams College

Grant details:

Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan (Book)
Title: Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan
Author: Siniawer, Eiko Maruko
Abstract: Violence and democracy may seem fundamentally incompatible, but the two have often been intimately and inextricably linked. In this book, Siniawer argues that violence has been embedded in the practice of modern Japanese politics from the very inception of the country's experiment with democracy. As soon as the parliament opened its doors in 1890, brawls, fistfights, vandalism, threats, and intimidation quickly became a fixture in Japanese politics, from campaigns and elections to legislative debates. Most of this physical force was wielded by what Siniawer calls "violence specialists": ruffians and yakuza. Their systemic and enduring political violence--in the streets, in the halls of parliament, during popular protests, and amid labor strife-ultimately compromised party politics in Japan and contributed to the rise of militarism in the 1930s. For the postwar years, Siniawer illustrates how the Japanese developed a preference for money over violence as a political tool of choice.
Year: 2008
Primary URL:
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 0801447208

Befitting Bedfellows: Yakuza and the State in Modern Japan (Article)
Title: Befitting Bedfellows: Yakuza and the State in Modern Japan
Author: Siniawer, Eiko Maruko
Abstract: Against a backdrop of labor unrest and the democratization of politics, yakuza and the modern Japanese state forged in the late 1910s and 1920s a symbiotic relationship born of shared ideological concerns, financial interests, and a willingness to use violence as a tool for exerting and maintaining power. This article argues that yakuza and the state were able to join forces in part because they were operating in a world in which the boundaries between the legitimate and the illegitimate were fluid and porous. Struggling to define these boundaries were leftist intellectuals who took a critical stance against non-state political violence, yet reinforced the legitimacy of state violence. Considered too is the yakuza-state relationship in the postwar era. The article challenges the view of mafias as illegitimate and states as legitimate and poses questions about the extent to which zones of ambiguous legitimacy might have contributed to transformations of Japan’s political system.
Year: 2012
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of Social History
Publisher: George Mason University Press