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Historicizing the hinmin : social discourse and fiction in turn-of-the-century Japan

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Item Summary

Title: Historicizing the hinmin : social discourse and fiction in turn-of-the-century Japan
Authors: Kimura, Tomoki
Keywords: saimin
Issue Date: Aug 2014
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2014]
Abstract: Toward the end of 19th century, the term hinmin (貧民)--which generally refers to "the poor'" or "the needy," and which was almost interchangeably used with saimin (細民)--became prevalent in public discourse addressing "social problems," such as poverty, the slums, and prostitution. In a Yomiuri newspaper article published in April 4, 1890, titled "Ease and Privation" (Rakukyō to kukyō 楽境と苦境), the term hinmin appears in conjunction with another term shakai (society社会) as hinmin shakai (貧民社会). In the article, hinmin shakai is juxtaposed against Tokyō's hyōmen (surface表面), which at that time enjoyed the huge success of the third national industrial exhibition. Beneath the "surface" of Tokyō's prosperity, the author claims, there are those who suffer incredible privations and hardships due to exorbitant interest rates and an increase in rice prices. Therefore, the author adds, the leaders of shakai must not be intoxicated with prosperity and overlook the suffering of hinmin. This particular period of time, as Carol Gluck observes, was characterized by the discovery of shakai mondai (social problems社会問題) by Meiji ideologues. As shakai became specified as the locus of numerous dislocations resulting from Meiji modernity, the term hinmin came into use to represent the "victims" of the new social structure of Japan.
Description: M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:M.A. - East Asian Languages and Literatures (Japanese)

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