Thursday, February 10, 2011
Room 1636, School of Social Work Building, 1080 South University
How does civil society recover from the devastations of war? World War II was a dark time for Japan’s civil society. Large parts of Japanese civil society were repressed. Associations that managed to continue to operate during war often saw their activities crippled as members were increasingly drafted and/or as physical facilities of associations experienced physical damage. Drawing on original research of Japan’s civil society before and after World War II, Kage will show that despite the hardships of a long and protracted war, Japan’s civil society recovered strongly after the war, although with considerable variations in the extent of recovery across different prefectures. Why? Kage's study will argue that while U.S. occupation reforms provided an important precondition for promoting the recovery of Japan’s civil society, the reforms do not offer a full explanation. Instead, the experience of mobilization, coupled with prewar legacies of civic activities, shaped the extent to which civic activities recovered and subsequently surpassed prewar levels. The study yields important insights not only for understanding postwar Japan but also the recovery of societies from more recent wars as well.