Urban Culture in Pre-War Japan

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Politically the 1910s and 1920s were dark days for Japan: economic instability, frequent political assassinations, and increasing violent military interventions at home and overseas affected many. This book explores the literature of the period, showing how it contributed to this overall mood. It focuses on the Tatsukawa Library, an unusual collection of military chronicles based on traditions of popular storytelling found in the yose - a network of small theatrical venues that provided the masses living and working in Japan's major cities with affordable entertainment. Capitalising on local advances in Western-style printing, the series facilitated a 'new wave' of literature that appealed especially to young, marginalised, economically-insecure urban youths. This book discusses how the narrative content of the Tatsukawa Library, which focuses on historical samurai struggling valiantly against adverse circumstances, helped inspire a generation with admiration for violence. This work also examines how this outlook fitted with the Japanese state's reintroduction of imperial propaganda.

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Taylor & Francis Ltd
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