Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860

Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860

by Eiko Maruko Siniawer
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0801447208

ISBN-13: 9780801447204

Pub. Date: 10/28/2008

Publisher: Cornell University Press

Violence and democracy may seem fundamentally incompatible, but the two have often been intimately and inextricably linked. In Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists, Eiko Maruko 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

Overview

Violence and democracy may seem fundamentally incompatible, but the two have often been intimately and inextricably linked. In Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists, Eiko Maruko 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 post-World War II years, Siniawer illustrates how the Japanese developed a preference for money over violence as a political tool of choice. This change in tactics signaled a political shift, but not necessarily an evolution, as corruption and bribery were in some ways more insidious, exclusionary, and undemocratic than violence. Siniawer demonstrates that the practice of politics in Japan has been dangerous, chaotic, and far more violent than previously thought. Additionally, crime has been more political.

Throughout the book, Siniawer makes clear that certain yakuza groups were ideological in nature, contrary to the common understanding of organized crime as nonideological. Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists is essential reading for anyone wanting to comprehend the role of violence in the formation of modern nation-states and its place in both democratic and fascist movements.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801447204
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
10/28/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Political Violence in Historiographical Perspective
Violence, Violence Specialists, and Politics
Violence and Democracy
Approaches to Comparative History

Chapter 1. Patriots and Gamblers: Violence and the Formation of the Meiji State
Shishi: Assassins, Rebels, Patriots
Shishi Legacies in the Early Meiji Period
Bakuto: Outlaws, Robin Hoods, Local Leaders
Bakuto and the Meiji Restoration
Bakuto as Political Violence Specialists: The Freedom and People's Rights Movement

Chapter 2. Violent Democracy: Ruffians and the Birth of Parliamentary Politics
From Activist to Ruffian: Sōshi in the 1880s
Exporting Violence: Nationalist Tairiku Rōnin across Borders
Parliamentary Politics and the Professionalization of Sōshi
State Violence and the Second General Election

Chapter 3. Institutionalized Ruffianism and a Culture of Political Violence
The Jiyūtō Ingaidan and Its Bosses
The Seiyūkai Ingaidan in Party Politics
Cultures of Violence: Yakuza Bosses in Diet Politics

Chapter 4. Fascist Violence: Ideology and Power in Prewar Japan
Fascist Ideologies
Fascist Violence
The Nationalist Nexus in the Metropole and Beyond
Violence in the Decline of the Political Parties

Chapter 5. Democracy Reconstructed: Violence Specialists in the Postwar Period
The Decline of Sōshi and the Remaking of Ingaidan Violence
Violence as a Political and Discursive Weapon in Diet Politics
"Bōryokudan" Redux: Yakuza and the Conservative Nexus
1960: The Apogee of Postwar Violence Specialists
Coda: Political Violence after 1960

Afterword
Violence and Democracy
Violence, Fascism, Militarism
Violence Specialists and History
A Contemporary Perspective on Violent Democracy

Glossary
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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