Residents into Citizens: The Fate of Pragmatic Civic Activism

Simon Andrew Avenell

in Making Japanese Citizens

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780520262706
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947672 | DOI:
Residents into Citizens: The Fate of Pragmatic Civic Activism

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The history of Beheiren reveals how a conscientious model of civic activism born during the Anpo struggle could be married to more parochial and deep-seated commitments to the ethnic nation and the Pan-Asian struggle against the United States' imperialism. The period from around 1963 to 1975 is generally understood as the high point of citizen protest in postwar Japan. Pressure from thousands of antipollution and antidevelopment movements forced elites in business and government to address the dark side of economic growth through legislation, administrative reform, and technological innovation. In turning to the history of environmental policy, the intellectuals of the movement and their role in developing this model of pragmatic civic activism hoped to provide an answer to all the ills. The chapter gives two interconnected processes in connection to the topic, and these are as follows: firstly, the development of ideas about self-help and self-reliance in local activism; and, secondly, theorizations and experimentations on citizen participation or shimin sanka in local government.

Keywords: Beheiren; civic; activism; ethnic nation; citizen

Chapter.  18903 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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