Journal Name: Social Science Japan Journal: April 2003, Vol. 6, No. 1
Print ISSN: 1369-1465, Online ISSN: 1468-2680
Heisei Yakuza: Burst Bubble and Botaiho (pp 1-18)
Peter Hill is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Oxford.
This paper explores developments in the business activities of the yakuza/boryokudan (Japan's organized crime syndicates) following the end of the Showa period in 1989. Since then, the yakuza have had to contend with two events which have had profound effects on their economic environment: the collapse of Japan's bubble economy right at the beginning of the new era, and the introduction of the bryokudan countermeasures law (Botaiho) in 1992. Whilst post-bubble economic stagnation has deprived the yakuza of many lucrative opportunities, it has compensated them with others. The Botaiho, by imposing new restrictions on formerly legal yakuza activities, made these sources of income more costly and thereby similarly forced gang-members to develop new sources of income. In particular, amphetamine dealing and organized theft rings have grown in response to the 'double punch' of the bubble and the Botaiho. The paper concludes by suggesting that the continuing economic hardship faced by the yakuza is weakening the intra- and inter-organizational mechanisms by which they have tried to stabilize their world.
Above the Law? Police Integrity in Japan (pp 19-37)
David T. Johnson is associate professor of sociology and adjunct professor of law at the University of Hawaii.
This paper presents data from an 'integrity survey' administered to 182 Japanese police officers and compares the results with analogous data from 30 American police departments. Although the survey generated high scores for police integrity in Japan, a recent spate of scandals casts doubt on the results. Moreover, since the mechanisms for exposing misconduct are undeveloped in Japan, police behavior may well be worse than it appears. Three problems of police corruption are especially acute: the embezzlement of money from police slush funds; the corruption endemic in police control over Japan's pachinko industry; and police tolerance of organized crime. The problem of police corruption in Japan is not a matter of a few 'rotten apples' but of a failed organization. The challenge, therefore, is how to fix the organization. Significant reform requires conditions which now are absent and seem unlikely to emerge anytime soon. For the foreseeable future, Japanese police seem likely to remain above the law.
Legislating for Care: A Comparative Analysis of Long-term Care Insurance Laws in Japan and Germany (pp 39-56)
Philippa Webb has a first class honours degree and the University Medal in Advanced Japanese Studies and a law degree from the University of New South Wales. She is working as an Associate Officer at the United Nations in New York.
Populations throughout the developed world are dramatically ageing owing to rapid declines in fertility and mortality. Providing long-term care to the growing numbers of frail elderly people will be a vital public policy challenge in the decades ahead. Japan and Germany are among the few countries that have met this challenge by introducing comprehensive legislation directed at long-term care. This paper reviews the differences between these Long-term Care Insurance Laws, with a focus on the availability of a cash allowance for people receiving family-based care. It reflects on the social, political and economic context of the laws, characterizes each system and points out the inherent difficulties on each side.
Memories of Pilots and Planes: World War II in Japanese Manga, 1957–1967 (pp 57-76)
Eldad Nakar has recently received his PhD in sociology at the Doctoral Program in Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan.
The rapidity with which Japan transformed her political and social institutions to conform with Western democratic standards after her defeat in World War II was and remains a hotly discussed issue among historians and social commentators. Many have argued that the Japanese deliberately forgot this tragic chapter in their recent history, or chose to remember only their role as victims. This paper seeks to problematize that view by analyzing the boom in wartime stories that swept through the world of children's comics (manga) from the late 1950s to the late 1960s. Interestingly, these tremendously popular works of juvenile fiction sought neither to forget the war nor to dwell on Japan's victimhood. Instead, by a variety of narrative devices, they created triumphant memories, telling of victory rather than defeat. I describe the plots, themes and artwork of the genre, treating them as historical documents testifying to the perceptions of World War II that were prevalent in Japan at the time. I also suggest reasons for the emergence of this distinctive narrative at this particular historical juncture, and try to shed light on the more general issue of how collective memories are formed within a complex industrial society.
'Gaining Confidence and Friendship' in Aborigine Country: Diplomacy, Drinking, and Debauchery on Japan's Southern Frontier (pp 77-96)
Paul D. Barclay is Assistant Professor of East Asian History at Lafayette College in Easton, PA, USA, and Visiting Researcher at Keio University for 2002–2003.
From the 1870s, agents of Japanese southward expansion recorded numerous instances of participation in alcohol-centered exchanges in Taiwan's interior. For foreigners entering the camphor-rich highlands of treaty-port Taiwan, sharing cups and providing gifts of distilled spirits were prerequisites of trade and diplomacy. Following the annexation of Taiwan in 1895, Japanese officials feasted prospective Aborigine allies with liquor and food to secure allegiance to the colonial government. By century's turn, however, this strategy came into conflict with the financial imperatives of making Taiwan into a putatively modern colony. A general, colony-wide pattern emerges from the state-sponsored ethnographic records investigated herein. From the view of Japanese officialdom, Taiwan Aborigines ceased to be allies or foes to be negotiated with over ladles of fermented potables, instead becoming troublesome subjects who were nonetheless ethnologically interesting for their variety of locally brewed beverages and consumption rituals. In the end, officials and publicists regarded the Aborigines as impoverished primitives whose drinking habits held them back from making economic progress. This essay elucidates a long-term dynamic in the history of empire while describing something of how colonialism was experienced by those at the far periphery of Greater Japan in the early twentieth century.
Social Science Japan Journal (2003)
Copyright ©2003 Oxford University Press
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