This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Transformation Of Japan From A Rural Scope: A Review Of Toshie: A Story Of Village Life In Twentieth Century Japan

939 words - 4 pages

In Toshie: A Story of Village Life in Twentieth-Century Japan, published in 2004, author Simon Partner offers an insight on the transformation that underwent Japan through the mid-twentieth century through the life of Sakaue Toshie, a woman born and raised on a farm in the Kosugi hamlet of Yokogoshi, Niigata—a rural region almost 250km from the capital of Japan. Toshie was born in 1925—a year before the 64-year reign of Showa Era by Emperor Hirohito. This was a time when “two out of every ten babies died in childbirth or infancy,”(1) and Toshie’s family, who were poor tenant farmers renting a mere one acre of land, “were not far above”(2) those that were “literally unable to support themselves.”(2). Kosugi was virtually isolated especially in the winter season, when “residents of Kosugi had their hands full just keeping the main paths open in the hamlet,” (5) but also experienced “frequent floods [that] caused losses that small peasant farmers were often unable to recoup.” (7). This small village of Kosugi was thus one of the many rice-growing villages, with limited productivity and western mechanization. However, during the last three quarters of the twentieth century, Japan essentially transformed from an Empire to a Nation State, changing considerably in not only its governmental structure but also its social and economic structure. This paper examines Simon Partner’s contemporary approach of welding these significant historical transformations with the life experiences of a rural villager—a voice often unheard and hidden under the urban perspectives in historical textbooks. It argues that Japan’s socioeconomic metamorphosis did not occur immediately during or after the World War in the 1940s; rather, these changes kicked in after multiple decades succeeding the war.
Partner provides several detailed descriptions of Toshie’s life and the struggles her family went through as poor famers in contrast to wealthy landlords who “did little or no farming themselves.” (8). While her family was definitely not one of the wealthiest nor was in the healthiest conditions, the comparison against government statistics on other communities during this time reveals, “Toshie’s conditions of housing, clothing, and personal hygiene were relatively good.” (25). Her father, Kurakichi, made enough of an income to provide rice for his family throughout the year despite economic hardships and its geographic location in northern Japan. (24). The Kosugi village, before the financial difficulties of the Great Depression in the 1930s, had “harmonious relations prevailing between landlords and tenants.” (40). While the two million Japanese farmers were unaware of “how dependent they were on market forces operating in distant lands,”(42) the collapse of the stock market in the United States generated a domino effect on the Japanese silk industry. This affected the millions of small Japanese villagers,...

Find Another Essay On Transformation of Japan from a Rural Scope: A Review of Toshie: A Story of Village Life in Twentieth-Century Japan

The Four Despots of 20th Century - Part 1: Pre-WWI Japan

972 words - 4 pages After the 8th century the system of public-land domain in Japan brokedown and various types of private landholdings consolidated into estates (shōen) came into being. These holdings organized under the authority of the civil nobility and religious establishments remained within the framework of the imperial government. The Kamakura period In Japanese, the term "Shōgun" meaning “barbarian-quelling generalissimo” or a military ruler was first

A History of Japan Essay

1524 words - 6 pages hundred years and their trading dilemma with petroleum and their assortment of fish that they export. Japan as a country is so very appealing and kind compared to the rest of the world its no wonder that it’s geographically separate from the rest of the world. Japan has been called the “Land of the Rising Sun” and with the beauty and serenity of Japan, the name fits. The land in this volcanic and mountainous country is covered in a great

Important Changes in Japan During the 20th Century

1671 words - 7 pages The 20th century was by all accounts an era of considerable progress for Japan. As a result of the remarkable success in the postwar era, Japan has become a model of the industrialized society for the world to take note. In this paper I will attempt to illustrate the important changes that Japan went through during this time of progression, using 1945 as a dividing point. These changes include a different role of the emperor, a new political

Literary Review on the Non-regular Teachers' Employment in Japan

1708 words - 7 pages Introduction Type of employment has been discussed in decade. Therefore, there are many discussions about type of employment such as non-regular employment in Japan. The definition of non-regular (part-time, temporary, dispatched) employment is one of the type of employment which do not have full time contract. It also means that they are not hired directly by their employer without a predetermined period of employment. In addition, non-regular

McDonald’s in Japan: a Clash of Harmony

607 words - 3 pages In “Fast Food and Intergenerational Commensality in Japan: New Styles and Old Patterns,” John W. Traphagan and L. Keith Brown employs ethnographic observation to analyze Japanese reception to the prevalence of McDonald’s in Japan, taking into account the subjects’ and informants’ ethnic backgrounds and cultural contexts. Critics maintain that the invasion of McDonald’s poses as a threat to the traditional dining patterns in Japan; however, few

Kawaii: A Subculture of Japan

750 words - 3 pages Kawaii is a fast growing phenomenon worldwide. Kawaii by translation just means cute. This phenomenon first emerged in Japan. The cute culture is so surprising due to the fact that it is so different from the roles and the typical Japanese look which is that of the Japanese Salaryman. It is also extremely different from the lifestyle of the Salaryman. Other than the Kawaii look there have also been various subcultures that have recently emerged

Tokugawa Japan through Chushingura & Musui's Story

1196 words - 5 pages forced the act and killed him (Izumo, Shoraku and Senryu 1). The puppet play was written in 1748, and showcased an early Tokugawa period with loyal, respected samurai, a stable economy and law system, and the value of honor. Almost 100 years later, Katsu Kokichi will write his autobiography, Musui's Story. Unlike Chushingura, Musui's Story presented a Tokugawa a century later: a culture that had transformed from an honorable, stable society to

Introduction of Japan as a World Power

2524 words - 11 pages Introduction of Japan as a World Power (Russo-Japanese War) The Russo-Japanese War is also known as “the first great war of the 20th century”, which grew out of the rival imperial ambitions of the Russian and Japanese Empires over Manchuria and Korea; where the Japanese military were unexpectedly victorious over the Russian forces, transforming the balance of power in East Asia and resulting in Japan’s entry as a world power. In 1868, Japan

The Transformation of the United States from a Rural to an Urban Nation

2658 words - 11 pages extreme anti-immigrant sentiment in the U.S. at the time, because of the fear they might overthrow society. The KKK also relates to this fear of the other; the fear in both was created from the rise in population of African Americans and immigrants and the progressive change in America socially and politically that challenged their traditional views. The transformation of the United States from a rural to an urban nation brought many changes balanced

A comparative advantage of US food products in Japan

745 words - 3 pages The Japanese Market has become vital to the U.S. Economy. Japan is the number one export market for the United States. In 1993, Japan accounted for 37.6 percent of the total growth in U.S. value-added exports.U.S. food products, in particular, are a huge market in Japan. American agricultural exports to Japan in 1993 were $8.7 billion. About one-third of Japanese agricultural imports come from the United States. However, there is sometimes a

The Tale of Genji: A Classic in Japan

1693 words - 7 pages The Tale of Genji is considered one of the greatest works in Japanese literature. In it contains a great richness and detail about court life and expectations during the Heian period. The author, Murasaki Shikibu, lived in the palace during the time she was under the service of Empress Akikio, which no doubt greatly influenced her writing of the Tale of Genji (Waley, x, xxi-xxii). In this book, Genji, also known as the Shining Prince, is the

Similar Essays

Book Review: Japan In Transformation

1027 words - 4 pages ] subsidize the favored core workforce of full-time, male workers.” (43) However, Kingston notes that “the popular stereotype of meek, submissive Japanese women has long obscured the reality of their lives, status, experiences and perspectives, and, by the end of the twentieth century, is no more than a condescending caricature at odds with contemporary reality.” (68) As evidence he cites and three-fold increase in the divorce rate from 1963 to 1998, as

Rebuilding In Japan; A Story About Avoiding The Korean War

858 words - 4 pages The Korean War, also known as the forgotten war , was one of the most brutal and violent wars of the 20th century. Less than five million people died during this war. My grandfather, Herbert Victor Sapper, was drafted during the time of the Korean War, but, he wasn’t sent to Korea, he was sent to Japan. Since my grandfather passed away in 1995, I gathered all of my information about my grandfather from my grandmother, Lelia Bell Sapper. Here

Ambitions Of Japan In The Beginning Of The 20th Century

1648 words - 7 pages Université Paris-Sorbonne-Abou Dabi Histoire L1 - Histoire Contemporaine Wadha Al-Aqeedi Commentaire : Les ambitions du Japon au début du XXe siècle Au XXe siècle, le Japon a assisté une transformation en puissance de pays industrialisés, avec une armée moderne et une marine qui était l'un des plus grands dans le monde. Cette nouvelle puissance a conduit le Japon à la victoire

Study Notes On Western Influence And Pressure In The History Of China And Japan In The 19th And 20th Century

850 words - 3 pages PART 1Western influence and pressure in the history of China and Japan in the 19th and 20th Century should not be dismissed, because they are often the impetus, if not the main driving force, of important internal events. China and Japan's own situation and internal forces, then, temper how each country responds to these Western pressures and influences. China, already under the yoke of the Manchurian Jun Hsien rule, wrestled repeatedly with