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Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists


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Table of Contents

Introduction Political Violence in Historiographical Perspective Violence, Violence Specialists, and Politics Violence and Democracy Approaches to Comparative History Chapter 1. Patriots and Gamblers: Violence and the Formation of the Meiji State Shishi: Assassins, Rebels, Patriots Shishi Legacies in the Early Meiji Period Bakuto: Outlaws, Robin Hoods, Local Leaders Bakuto and the Meiji Restoration Bakuto as Political Violence Specialists: The Freedom and People's Rights Movement Chapter 2. Violent Democracy: Ruffians and the Birth of Parliamentary Politics From Activist to Ruffian: Soshi in the 1880s Exporting Violence: Nationalist Tairiku Ronin across Borders Parliamentary Politics and the Professionalization of Soshi State Violence and the Second General Election Chapter 3. Institutionalized Ruffianism and a Culture of Political Violence The Jiyuto Ingaidan and Its Bosses The Seiyukai Ingaidan in Party Politics Cultures of Violence: Yakuza Bosses in Diet Politics Chapter 4. Fascist Violence: Ideology and Power in Prewar Japan Fascist Ideologies Fascist Violence The Nationalist Nexus in the Metropole and Beyond Violence in the Decline of the Political Parties Chapter 5. Democracy Reconstructed: Violence Specialists in the Postwar Period The Decline of Soshi and the Remaking of Ingaidan Violence Violence as a Political and Discursive Weapon in Diet Politics "Boryokudan" Redux: Yakuza and the Conservative Nexus 1960: The Apogee of Postwar Violence Specialists Coda: Political Violence after 1960 Afterword Violence and Democracy Violence, Fascism, Militarism Violence Specialists and History A Contemporary Perspective on Violent Democracy Glossary Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Eiko Maruko Siniawer is Chair of the History Department and Associate Professor of History at Williams College.


"Gamblers, ruffians, thugs, and yakuza have left a major imprint on contemporary Japanese politics and political style, and Siniawer tells their story well."-Journal of Asian Studies "Siniawer's essential contention-that violence was a systemic, continuous feature of politics, which exerted a major impact on the nature of Japanese democracy-is demonstrated convincingly. Scholars inclined to emphasize the 'brighter side' of Japan's modern history may find this work troublesome. And that is a good thing."-Pacific Affairs "In this important work, Eiko Maruko Siniawer argues very convincingly that violence, especially political violence, was a pervasive, highly influential, and nearly continuous force in Japan between the late Tokugawa age and the 1960s."-Japanese Studies "This lively history of modern institutionalized practices of political violence in Japan, demonstrates how in one guise or another 'violence specialists' have been integral to the conduct of politics. Historians and political scientists inclined to view Japan as a consensus driven society, will do well to consider Siniawer's contrarian view."-Stephen Vlastos, University of Iowa, author of Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan "Eiko Maruko Siniawer offers an alternative history of modern Japan written from the perspective of the micropolitics of violence. In this revealing book those who usually stay in the background come to the forefront. Political ruffians and other specialists in violence were indispensable for every political project, whether fascist or democratic. The degree of their historical involvement is striking."-Vadim Volkov, The European University at St. Petersburg, author of Violent Entrepreneurs: The Use of Force in the Making of Russian Capitalism "Eiko Maruko Siniawer's Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists abundantly demonstrates the political violence basic to the birth and development of modern Japanese democracy. In a carefully crafted study that manages at once to be sweeping, nuanced, and richly comparative, she surveys how political 'violence specialists' became as Japanese as cherry blossoms. In tracing the history of violent groups she not only demonstrates how they contributed to 'fascist violence' in prewar Japan, but also reveals how democratic ends emerged directly and indirectly from undemocratic actions before and after World War II. The insight is just one of many in this fascinating study of hooligans and fixers in modern Japanese politics."-Michael Lewis, Michigan State University "Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists addresses a theme of great cross-regional and contemporary relevance: that democracy and violence, far from being incompatible, are intimately entangled. Eiko Maruko Siniawer advances the provocative thesis that the embrace of democracy does not displace violence from politics but merely transforms it. This is a book that deserves an audience well beyond Japanese history."-Michael A. Reynolds, Princeton University

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