Chapter

Violence and the Abolition of Outcaste Status

David L. Howell

in Geographies of Identity in Nineteenth-Century Japan

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780520240858
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930872 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520240858.003.0004
Violence and the Abolition of Outcaste Status

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This chapter reports the immediate effects of the abolition edict. It also discusses the Mimasaka Blood-Tax Rebellion of 1873. Murderous violence in late Tokugawa and early Meiji popular protest as the medium for that assessment are examined. It argues, first, that the sudden incidence of murderous violence in the first decade of the Meiji period was a by-product of the dissolution of the status system and its ideological supports, and second, that even apparently random violence was subject to rules that had their origins in the performative conventions of Tokugawa protest. Additionally, the chapter explores the broader context of anti-Buraku violence to understand how it was specifically a function of the downfall of the status order. The Mimasaka Blood-Tax Rebellion suggests that murderous violence underwent a process of “modernization” in the years following the Restoration. The wave of peasant movements during the years right after the Restoration is described.

Keywords: murderous violence; Mimasaka Blood-Tax Rebellion; abolition; Tokugawa; Meiji; Restoration; status system; anti-Buraku violence

Chapter.  13221 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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