Atarashiki mura Utopianism in Interwar Japan

Interwar Japan witnessed the founding of one of the longest running  secular intentional communities in the world, Atarashiki mura. Yet the historiography of twentieth century Japan seldom includes the story of this project. Over ninety years after its founding it continues to operate espousing its original goals of humanism and individualism, albeit in constant financial trouble and in a location different from where it was established. Historians of Japanese political thought generally ignore this movement, focusing instead on either the intrigues of Taisho party politics or the threat (or possibility, depending on one’s disposition) of radical socialist movements and intellectuals. This has led to a dominant narrative of contested liberalization, preceding the authoritarian hypernationalism of Hirohito’s reign. From this picture of the time period the reader is left to conclude that there were at most two distinct sides to the interwar political spectrum, the party/Imperial oligarchy and the socialist movement that was progressively beaten down and wiped out by the state. Once this oppositional element was eliminated, the state could expand unhindered into totalitarianism.



About D C

Robot anarchist View all posts by D C

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