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Part 2. Case-studies

4. The importance of case-studies
5. Urban society and technology
6. Agricultural technology and development
7. Transfer and self-reliance in iron and steel technology
8. Transfer of mining technology and the birth of new technology
9. Traffic and transport technology-road, railway, and water-borne transportation
10. Technology for the textile industry
11. The transformation of small-scale industry into modern indigenous industry
12. Vocational education and development
13. The development of Japanese-style management
14. Development of Japan's financial system
15. General trading companies: Their role in technology transfer and industrialization
16. Industry and economic policies - Politics and the economy in a new nation
17. History of technology and technology policy
18. Female labour and technology change
19. Industrial technology and pollution

4. The importance of case-studies

There are many possible approaches to discussions of technology, and yet it must not be construed as an abstract subject. Technology is a concrete ingredient of daily life and must be dealt with in a concrete way. Therefore, the most meaningful dialogue on technology is initiated and developed in reference to actual cases.

In our own discussions we have encountered such ideas as "technology civilization" and the "nature of technology." Our present study, however, has no direct bearing on these and similar notions. Our main theme is development and technology. The urgency of this subject is found in the torrent of many small but real problems that have gone unsolved and not in philosophical discussions of the nature of technology; we have been overwhelmed by the urgencies of real, everyday problems that must be successfully solved.

Rather than permanent solutions, we are interested in provisional solutions of smaller problems that exist now. Admittedly, however, even minor solutions cannot be expected immediately. Indeed, minor solutions, limited as they are, will surely generate new problems. We know that we may need to be satisfied with minor solutions to problems that can be anticipated when a question is raised, and we may even need to regard such solutions as final.

The methodological dialogue proposed by the United Nations University represents a challenge to the current situation in which problems of development have been confused and their solutions only groped for. The intention of a methodological dialogue is good, but the results have been modest, and a full appraisal remains to be reached. Furthermore, no grammar seems yet to have been established for methodological dialogue premised on the individuality and equality of the participants. We have already heard voices of disappointment, the reason for which is understandable. Certainly, methodological chaos has thus far dominated the dialogue. However, the disappointment characterizes the current situation of the development problem because, paradoxically, it expresses hope and expectation. There is no quick or universal remedy that can be applied either to development or to methodological dialogue. Nevertheless, dialogue is meaningful because it promises an opportunity for all concerned to better understand the problems. This is the positive significance of dialogue.

We are in desperate need of detailed information on the problems of technology in developing countries in order to see the problems in their real context. Although there is no reason why the way in which we define a problem should be the same as or unified with all others, the factual information of case-studies must be provided for meaningful dialogue. Cases that cover a wide diversity of levels, ranging from factories to space technology, have been brought into our dialogue; however, we will confine ourselves first to problems at the level of the nation-state. inasmuch as the subject of development is the nation-state and development is a matter of its sovereignty. We then move to the level of the factory.

Although Japan early constituted a nation-state, conscious awareness of this on the part of the Japanese people came late. Until Japan was forced to open its doors in 1854, the average Japanese regarded his or her microcosmos as the universe. Although Japan had attained a high degree of social integration, unification as a national society came about only through industrialization, a process that began with the forced opening of the country. The 200 or more years that preceded the opening and the provincial mentality of this period, as well as the power structure established on the basis of this mentality, will be discussed in this section in the many diverse ways they apply to technology in the 1980s.

Japan moved from its feudal system, made complete with the closing of the country, to a state following the historical model formulated by European historians. In nominal terms, however, power and authority existed collaterally. The new government had achieved the unity of a nation-state, but in its tenth year (1877), the country was hit with a civil war. This furthered the economic confusion that had existed since the opening and confronted the newly born state with a threat to its existence.

Colonization was another serious threat. Foreign armed forces were permanently stationed at Yokohama; facilities were provided at the expense of the Japanese government, and extrateritoriality was granted. The new government even mortgaged the Yokohama Customs House to repay a loan it had inherited from the old shogunate government. As a result, there was no customs autonomy.

To maintain political independence, the new government had to repay its foreign debts. This made economic development essential, and the only available option was the introduction of European technology to incite an industrial revolution. Herein lies the relevance of the Japanese experience to development.

In Japanese academia, modern Japan has not been examined in terms of third world development; it has been directly compared with only other advanced countries and not with those in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

The conditions for international co-operation were not as well established when Japan began its development as they are today, and Japan had no neighboring countries with which to co-operate. China's defeat in the Opium War frightened Japan's intellectual class; China had always been respected in Japan as a political and economic model, and this turn of events thus forced a reassessment.

Japan attempted negotiations with the Li dynasty of Korea so that it might cope in alliance with the new international environment, but Korea refused to open its doors. In an unexpected response, it even asked Japan to regard Korea as a superior nation, and the negotiations failed. Japan was thus isolated in the Far East and was put in the position of having to modernize on its own. Consequently, attempts at development were impetuous and met with a series of failures.

The technology transfers to Japan fell short of their goals because of shortsightedness and naively. The lesson sorely learned was that future transfers had to be made selectively. So after several overly ambitious and optimistic experiments, technology transfer was re-initiated on a scale that was more realistic and rational.

Where technology was independent of control by the government and politicians, the five Ms were prepared and the question of technology settled. The five Ms and the establishment of technology were realized first in such light industries as textiles and food processing, later in the mining industry. Heavy industry existed only on a small scale, and it was not the leading sector.

Motivated by the needs of national defence, the Japanese government encouraged the manufacture of iron for shipbuilding and for producing arms and ammunition; the government also promoted the development of iron mines for iron manufacturing and the construction of railways and ports for iron-mine development. The process represented the reverse of that of modern Europe, though in overall industrialization, Japan trod the European path as it moved from light manufacturing to heavy industry.

But Japan accelerated and shortened the process. One factor in the acceleration was the government's policy of encouraging industry. This policy was coordinated by the national ministries regarding implementation, but, more significantly, it was implemented both for the central government and for the prefectural and village governments to assist on all levels in survival and development amid the serious economic upheaval they were experiencing. The name of a clothing manufacturer, Gunze, literally "district guideline," provides perhaps an amusing display of the strategy.

The policy of encouraging industry was not first formulated by the Meiji government; such a policy had been implemented by the feudal clans under the Tokugawa shogunate (for example, one by Yokoi Shonan [1809-1869] of the Fukui clan). However, the Meiji government developed the policy on a nation-wide scale.

In developing a military industry to meet state defence needs, the overwhelming technological gap could not be narrowed by only the purchase of equipment and machinery. It was necessary to learn how to operate the equipment, and to manage its maintenance and repair.

But, before the needed equipment and machinery could be introduced, foreign currency was required, and for this, the technology for silk reeling was brought into government-operated plants to provide an export product for foreign markets. But in this we see a paradox: the promotion of agriculture was necessary first to make industrial technology possible.

In the mining industry, copper-mining developed favorably by using transferred technology until the end of the nineteenth century. As in coal-mining, the copper was not for domestic consumption but for export.

It is inevitable that late comers in industrialization will aim at increased production or development of agricultural products and raw materials for export. Only at a later stage can the agriculture of a country supply raw materials to its own manufacturing industry. Following this model, it is important that each agricultural division be looked at in terms of its stage of development and that an assessment be undertaken of what industrial technologies have been transferred and established in relation to other industrial divisions, in order to take action toward answering development needs.

5. Urban society and technology

The city and technology
The primate city
The inhabitants of Tokyo
Formation of the new middle class
Urban life
A provincial city case-study: Traditional technology in Kanazawa

The city and technology

It is important to include the problems of cities when examining the problems of technology transfer and development. It has been the academic practice to treat these three areas separately - though they are interrelated in complex ways - following the tendency to reduce problems to the level of individual disciplines. To remedy this, we have formulated the themes of "urban society and technology" and "rural society and technology" in examining individual sectors of industrial technology. Concentrating on these problems is perhaps more relevant to development than whether we have obtained sufficient results to solve them directly.

The urban problem is today a global problem, encompassing both the North and the South, but the problem differs in content and structure between the two areas. The South faces more complex and difficult problems in employment, transportation, housing, health, social security, and similar issues. The measures needed to solve these problems cannot be the same for each country. In the context of development - exemplified by such problems as the world's highest rents and land prices - Japan has solved these problems only partially; nevertheless, a few illustrations from the Japanese case may be of interest in our dialogue.

The relation between the city and technology in the context of development is our concern for the following, related reasons:

1. Technology and its transfer are essential for development.

2. Modern technologies, hard and soft, are mutually interrelated, each tending to concentrate in places where related technologies and supporting services are available.

3. The city is where technology, service. and information are centred. In other words, where technology, service, and information have been centred and accumulated is or will become a city.

Modern industry has developed and given rise to new cities. However, industrialization and modernization are defined, their processes are sure to generate urbanization, which is a prerequisite for industrialization and modernization that will, in turn, increase urbanization - as the Japanese experience demonstrates.

For example, such public services as transportation and electricity, essential for the modern city, will become available where a certain level of urban population has been reached. Developing countries have arrived at the stage of urbanization that constitutes a prerequisite for modernization and industrialization. Therefore, if priorities are set and wise technological choices and timely transfers of additional technology are continually made, these countries may anticipate success in their work to solve the problems they are likely to face.

Awareness of the particular phase of urbanization in which a country finds itself may be useful in making plans for that country. Urbanization has three phases:

1. Population expansion in existing cities.
2. Increase in the number of medium- and small-scale cities.
3. Development of the division of functions among cities and the nation wide formation of hierarchies to parallel the levels of these functions.

These phases correspond to the process of development, starting when the technology and the organizations for technology are first scattered, moving to when they are brought into some regional concentration, and finally to when they are integrated into a single entity.

In terms of this framework, many developing countries have completed the first phase, but not sufficiently the second and third phases. This means that the national network of technology in each does not yet cover the entire country and that the level of social integration is not high and the social structure is not as solid as it should be. Further, because of the rich diversity of local culture, the network for administration (national bureaucratization) does not function efficiently. This can, of course, prove both advantageous and disadvantageous to development.

In this context, by the middle of the nineteenth century, Japan had a network of more than 200 cities with populations ranging from 10,000 to I million. The functional hierarchy among cities had been completed by this time, and they were connected by all-weather roads and water-borne traffic. The Meiji Restoration included the reorganization of more than 240 small administrative units into 50 larger ones, and the new central government could recruit bureaucrats for administration not only from the ax-samurai class but also from other classes. This guaranteed it a cadre of leadership.

The primate city

One characteristic of the process of development in today's non-Western world is that, while capitals have expanded to extraordinary sizes, the development of the secondary and tertiary cities has lagged far behind.

Tokyo is Japan's primate city. Its population at the time of our study was 11 million, only about 10 per cent of the total population of Japan. Within 30 kilometres of Tokyo is Yokohama City, which has a population of 3 million. The twenty-seven towns and cities in the Tokyo metropolitan district and the several neighboring cities, such as Kawasaki City (more than 1 million population), boast extensive public transportation networks, bringing millions of commuters into the city each day. For this reason, the daytime population in central Tokyo exceeds 14 million people. The metropolitan area of the three large cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, in western Japan, is less than 70 per cent as large as metropolitan Tokyo. But in the centres of both metropolitan areas, the night-time population decreases drastically, making them gigantic hollows. This differs markedly from what one finds in cities of the third world.

As the primate city, Tokyo constitutes a gigantic metropolitan area. It differs from large third-world urban centres because it sits atop a hierarchy of as many as 10 cities, each of which has more than 1 million population. Next on the list of cities in Japan are 10 with populations of 500,000 to 1 million and 38 with 300,000 to 500,000. It would be advantageous for the development policies of developing countries to promote the development of small and medium-sized cities.

However, while technology investment is influenced by related industries or supporting services, investment in the development of local cities faces its own set of limitations and urban investment tends toward the primate city. The renewal and redevelopment of facilities in the primate city, which, because of their scarcity, may have worn out through excessive use, is in competition with the development of local cities.

The formation of a primate city or excessive urbanization generated by population explosion and a low degree of industrialization have brought confusion to the cities. The phenomenon symbolizes the disorder of the entire national society at the initial stage of development. And although such confusion can lead to the dissolution of the national society, it should not be assumed that it does so automatically.

In the Japanese experience, excessive urbanization in pre-modern Japan occurred together with a population explosion. In the mid-nineteenth century, the political centre of Japan, Edo (present-day Tokyo), had a population of more than 1.1 million; the second largest community, Osaka, had 400,000; the third largest, Kyoto, had 300,000. Edo was indeed the primate city of Japan, and represented the country's political centre, with Kyoto the centre of sovereign authority and Osaka that of the economy, the three thus sharing the major functions.

The Meiji Restoration meant the unification of political power and sovereign authority in the new capital, Tokyo. The industrialization policy of the Meiji government brought about a new economic centre in the capital to compete with Osaka, but Tokyo could not easily dominate Osaka, and for a long time the two cities shared national economic hegemony. As industrialization progressed, however, Tokyo gradually established a predominance over Osaka.

The inhabitants of Tokyo

The change from Edo to Tokyo signified a change in the political power and the polity. This change first brought about a decrease in population. Following the transition, the 1.1 million population peak of the Edo period fell to approximately 500,000. Some 20 years later, however, when the new government had become stabilized in the 1890s, the population again reached 1 million. Only 10 years later, it approached 2 million, more than 1 million of which represented an influx from outside.

The reason for this great influx was change in the villages. The land and taxation systems were reformed, freedom of occupational choice was guaranteed, and freedom of movement and residence was authorized. People were liberated almost overnight from the former feudalistic restraints. Many of the people moving in, however, were poor peasants who had been uprooted. Their poverty was a result of several things: major economic change, especially the inflation that had occurred following the opening of the country and the civil war; natural disasters that were induced or worsened by the administration's mismanagement in forestry conservation and riparian improvement; and the spread of contagious diseases.

Records kept by Europeans who visited Tokyo immediately after the Meiji Restoration indicate that people were extremely poor; many were half-naked and living in shanties. While most of the houses of former samurai were left empty, many people lived in shanties along the streets, the only place they could engage in peddling, to which they were restricted and for which no alternative job opportunities were provided. The shanty towns usually grew up within a range of 2 to 5 kilometres from the entertainment or business centres, areas located within the metropolis much the same as they are evolving today with populations of new inhabitants in cities of the third world.

In nineteenth-century Tokyo, the water-supply and drainage systems were not well established, and the water-supply network, which had been constructed in the Tokugawa period, fell to ruin when maintenance on it was discontinued. Underground water was abundant, however, and people could get water from shallow wells (Kosuge 1980). On the other hand, poor drainage facilities caused Tokyo to suffer repeatedly from water-borne diseases. The spread of cholera after ports were opened to foreign trade killed more than 100,000 people on each of several outbreaks that struck every several years until the beginning of this century, a period of more than 40 years. Under the unequal treaties forced on Japan by the Western powers, the government could not take preventive measures against epidemics because the diplomatic representatives of these powers opposed these measures. The most frequent victims were the lower-class city dwellers.

As the eighth governor of Tokyo (in office from 1883 to 1886), officially declared, "the roads, bridges, and rivers come first; the water-supply system, housing, and sewerage are secondary." The Meiji government gave priority to the modernization of industry and the military. Public welfare in the cities was of only secondary concern to the government, and Tokyo thus added new urban problems induced by industrialization to the traditional ones it had inherited from the Edo period (Ishizuka 1979).

The Meiji élite believed that Westernizing the capital was essential in contributing to a revision of the unequal treaties with the Western powers. The new government office centre of stone buildings and the construction of brick buildings in the Ginza area were planned, moreover, to make Tokyo a city safe from fire. (Edo was the victim of major fires about every three years, and insufficient fire-prevention facilities had hindered the construction of full-scale wooden buildings.)

Although the more fire-resistant construction materials offered protection from fire, the change was not favorably accepted by the people because these materials did not fit the natural environment of high temperatures, high humidity, and frequent earthquakes. Consequently, the Ginza brick-town plan was never completed. In a rather meandering fashion, the Ginza of today was formed, and Tokyoites today little realize the fashionable Ginza was once a slum area.

In general, urban planning in Japan until the defeat in World War II consisted of industrial and transportation network development for national defence, leaving the housing problems in the hands of the private sector. Real-estate dealers operating rental houses reigned in the slum areas. Residents rented tenement houses partitioned like the mouth of a harmonica, and the rent was collected daily. They lived literally from hand to mouth. Rain prevented many people from working outdoors, often requiring them to pawn their little bit of furniture and working tools to buy sustenance. Near the slums were prosperous pawnshops and street stalls selling food made by re-cooking the remnants of meals from school dormitories and hospitals.

The Poor

Although most of the population in Tokyo was made up of impoverished newcomers, they were not a uniform group, but comprised three subcategories:

1. Low-Income Artisans

This group was represented by such outdoor construction-related workers as carpenters, plasterers, stonemasons, and gardeners, and by such skilled craftsmen as gold- and silversmiths, furniture makers, and tailors. These people retailed or peddled their own products. Owners of small shops with petty capital were included in this category.18

2. Paupers

This group included rickshaw men, representative of the new urban labour that had come about since the 1880s, daily labourers, and unskilled outdoor manual labourers. (The rickshaw men consisted of such types as self-employed, retained, renter-live-in, etc. The size and stability of income varied according to the order in which they are listed here.) The rickshaw man's income was sometimes above the average income level of low-level urban workers; but the work was so hard they could seldom continue their work much beyond middle age.

3. The Destitute

This class consisted of persons engaged in light labour, such as street merchants, peddlers, street performers, beggars, rag-pickers, and vagabonds. Some characteristics of this class were that there were no age and sex distinctions by type of job, the jobs were ill-defined, and the workers often had no permanent residences. In other words, this group constituted the lowest stratum of urban society. The disabled, the old and infirm, and the physically handicapped who could not manage even light labour were included in this group.

Groups 2 and 3, and sometimes a portion of group 1, could be referred to as the odd-job stratum of the cities; but its constituents are much more varied than the so-called lumpen proletariat. This class may be considered similar to the populace often referred to today as the urban informal sector. In any case, though this group included criminals and slum dwellers, the class as a whole cannot appropriately be characterized as antisocial. Here we find a fundamental difference from the exclusive, closed, small social group classically seen in an industrial society. Applying to this group the terms "slum of hope" or "slum of despair," or both, does not contribute to a true understanding.19

Category 3, the destitute, clearly needed protection and relief. And yet, the Tokyo city government underestimated this population category, placing it at about 10 per cent of the whole (Nakagawa 1982). The authorities believed that welfare policies directed at this class would cause a new inflow of the same class into Tokyo, and because the whole society was in transition, this would lead to bankruptcy of the city budget and spoil the will of these people for self-help.

In the 1890s, members of what we are calling the odd-job stratum had an average income of four yen (about four US dollars), and needed 70 per cent of this income for food and 15 per cent for rent. These people, on the edge of starvation, were seen not only in the principal cities but also in medium-sized and small municipalities and in rural villages. Some were employed by a village or jointly by several villages to fill the most menial jobs.

Today, according to one report, nearly 40 per cent of the people in South Asian agricultural villages consists of a non-agricultural population, a class that corresponds to the odd-job stratum described above in reference to Japan. Because of the population explosion and the limited means to sustain a growing population in the villages, impoverished peasants flow into the cities and fill the odd jobs, a phenomenon that could be explained by the widely accepted push-pull theory.

As a corollary to this, Yokoyama Gennosuke stated in his book, Nihon no kaső shakai (The lower strata of Japanese society that once a population flowed into the cities, it very rarely returns to the villages whence it came.20 Although Calcutta reported that in the 1960s some 200,000 people migrated from the city during harvest season and then returned when the season ended, this was a temporal outflow, a manifestation of a so-called floating population, a phenomenon which, assuming Yokoyama is correct, was for the most part non-existent in Japan at the time.

According to Yokoyama, Japanese cities at the end of the nineteenth century had the capacity to absorb the odd-job stratum, an ability comparable to contemporary third-world cities. A possible explanation for this might be that the initial stage of industrialization is accompanied by a population explosion, and the number and size of slums - not necessarily centred on the primate city - are proportionate to the size of the cities. An enlarged slum provides specialized minor jobs, and the demands for diversified goods and services support poor people and stabilize their livelihood at a low level.


At this time there were a great many adult male lodgers and temporary residents (sojourners) in Tokyo. In 1869, immediately after the Meiji Restoration, the adult male population of Tokyo (250,000) almost equaled the adult female population (260,000). Twenty years later, however, the male population had increased by more than 100,000 - most of this represented by the sojourner class - though the total population of the city remained the same as in the Edo period. Most of these sojourners were to be found around the tradesmen's houses in the commercial and industrial areas and along the nearby alleys where the low-income artisans and paupers lived, and this was closely related to the odd-job nature of their work: the odd job that the sojourner relied on for his living could not be found elsewhere. Their employment opportunities were sharply limited, and, as a result of these circumstances, this group lacked the means to settle down and form families.

Not all of the sojourner population, however, was to be found in the low-income stratum. Many bureaucrats in the new government, who were high-income earners had come to Tokyo in its early days, leaving their families in their home towns. Even when the families joined them, they did not give up their permanent domiciles. These bureaucrats provided support to relatives and others who did leave their home towns for Tokyo or, if not, help in securing employment. It was regarded as the social responsibility of those who were successful to provide for their home-town friends and relatives.

The relations thus formed on the basis of a common origin or through mutual reliance helped connect Tokyo and the local areas and sometimes contributed to the creation of strong factions. This was especially notable in the bureaucracy particularly among high military officers who came from a limited number of clans. With the increase of population in specialized and skilled occupations however the principle of personnel selection based on academic background or general merit gradually became established. Nevertheless. all other qualifications being equal. in terms of reliability and expectations, priority in hiring was given to persons from the same province and the same universities, the academic cliques duplicating the cliques based on place of origin. Long-term investments for the development of education and human resources were influenced by the formation of these cliques.

Although support for or opposition to the new government had been based on one's provincial affiliations, the basis for deciding loyalty slowly moved from provincial loyalty to actual merit resulting from the acquisition and use of new technology. And the changing basis for evaluation was expanded from the political and military arena to foreign trade, the arts, and technology in the service of national development.

Formation of the new middle class

The great effect industrialization had on urban society was the dissolution of the pauper class. New occupations (such as florists and makers of footwear and bags) were created, and the living standard of skilled artisans was gradually improved and stabilized. The rickshaw men and outdoor labourers of the former pauper class established families thus creating a new phase in urban society.

When urbanization entered this new phase in the 1900s, the persons who later were transformed into industrial workers were born into the urban lower classes. As subdivision in manufacturing progressed, through a system of subcontracting that resulted from a breakup in the production process some skilled workers became owners of small factories or of part of the shop-floor production. As larger industrial networks formed, members of the urban lower classes moved to the areas surrounding the big factories, thus transforming towns into strongholds of factory workers and their families. At the initial stage, before this developments the factories themselves were located near the slums, on land that was cheap and where the recruitment of labour was easy (Ishizuka 1980). Cotton-spining factories were the most typical example.

Simultaneously, a new middle class was emerging, including low-level civil servants such as school teachers, public employees, railway workers, and low-ranking professional soldiers. The government provided them with housing and long-service pensions. Although their levels of income were not so different from those of skilled workers or owners of small shops, their social consciousness and life-style set them apart. For people in this class, even when the income of the head of the family was too small to support the family, the wife or other family members hesitated to work outside the home, and the deficit would thus be supplemented by part-time work done at home.

Above this class lay a thin upper-middle class: owners of big shops, academically trained professionals, independent business owners, managers in big enterprises, and high-ranking bureaucrats. An element that differentiated this higher middle class from the new middle class was that, besides houseboys and maids, it had unmarried female domestic labour, called "housekeeping trainees' (with the housewife as the teacher).

This domestic labour force, especially the trainees, gradually disappeared after the establishment and spread of the school system. World War II made it impossible for households in this class to keep domestic servants, male or female.

The expansion of the old middle class and the formation of the new middle class provided people of the low-income artisan stratum (group 1) with a stable market for their products and services. A great many new occupations came about with the appearance of small-business owners. The odd-job stratum did not disappear as an entity, but reformed to produce a new supply of industrial workers. This and the new middle class, which formed and expanded in parallel, signaled a new phase of urban society brought about by industrialization.

Urban life

Tokyo consists of two poles in terms of society and culture: Yamanote (the hilly, uptown part of the city) and Shitamachi (downtown) geographical references dating from the Edo period. As in the distinction between town and village it is difficult to precisely distinguish the two. In Tokyo 10 times bigger than Edo the two are intermingled and multilayered.

However some distinction can be made regarding differences in life-style values, and especially in what might be termed social aesthetics. In general, Yamanote people are progressive, Western-oriented, individualistic, better-educated, professional or managerial types, and speakers of standard Japanese. The disposition of the residents of Shitamachi is contrary in all respects; they maintain the emotions and traditions of the common people of the Edo era: they are fond of traditional public entertainment; they are frank, amiable, religious, and cherish good relations with their neighbours; and they take pride in hard, honest work. They love to celebrate and have a bit of the rebel in them. The true-born Edoite represented the ideal type. It is a type reminiscent perhaps of the one corresponding to Évian-les-Bains in France or Ibn al-Balad in Cairo.21

The culture of the common people has been kept alive in the so-called town association. It is similar to Cairo's harra of the past or to the mahalla in other Muslim cities, but it differs in the following points. The Japanese town association is an autonomous neighbourhood organization for mutual assistance and friendship in which members are all heads of families in a specified block. It has as its subsidiaries organizations of young men and women, children, and old men and women, categorized by age and occasionally by sex. It used to carry out such functions as fire-fighting, crime prevention, and night-watch. In its function as the terminal unit of urban administration, it is a unique feature of the Japanese city Nakamura 1979).

There are many theories regarding the origin, functions, and organization of the town association. Tokyo, for example, underwent the upheavals of the Meiji Restoration, the great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, the damages of World War II, and the post-war expansion. And accordingly, the town associations within Tokyo differ from area to area. Reflecting the diverse social characteristics of the inhabitants of the city's areas or blocks, the attitudes of people toward their neighbours and the manner and extent of their participation in the town associations also differ.

In particular, liberal intellectuals of the middle class still remember the dismal experiences in the years of the military fascist regime, when the town association was used for economic control and spying on neighbours. Some resent the present-day town association, seeing it as a vote-collecting machine to support the party in power.

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