Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860-1960 by Eiko Maruko SiniawerRuffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860-1960 by Eiko Maruko Siniawer

Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860-1960

byEiko Maruko Siniawer

Paperback | March 19, 2015

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Violence and democracy may seem fundamentally incompatible, but the two have often been intimately and inextricably linked. In Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists, Eiko Maruko Siniawer argues that violence has been embedded in the practice of modern Japanese politics from the very inception of the country's experiment with democracy.

As soon as the parliament opened its doors in 1890, brawls, fistfights, vandalism, threats, and intimidation quickly became a fixture in Japanese politics, from campaigns and elections to legislative debates. Most of this physical force was wielded by what Siniawer calls "violence specialists": ruffians and yakuza. Their systemic and enduring political violence-in the streets, in the halls of parliament, during popular protests, and amid labor strife-ultimately compromised party politics in Japan and contributed to the rise of militarism in the 1930s.

For the post-World War II years, Siniawer illustrates how the Japanese developed a preference for money over violence as a political tool of choice. This change in tactics signaled a political shift, but not necessarily an evolution, as corruption and bribery were in some ways more insidious, exclusionary, and undemocratic than violence. Siniawer demonstrates that the practice of politics in Japan has been dangerous, chaotic, and far more violent than previously thought. Additionally, crime has been more political.

Throughout the book, Siniawer makes clear that certain yakuza groups were ideological in nature, contrary to the common understanding of organized crime as nonideological. Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists is essential reading for anyone wanting to comprehend the role of violence in the formation of modern nation-states and its place in both democratic and fascist movements.

Eiko Maruko Siniawer is Professor of History at Williams College. She is the author of Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860-1960.
Title:Ruffians, Yakuza, Nationalists: The Violent Politics of Modern Japan, 1860-1960Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.65 inPublished:March 19, 2015Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801456827

ISBN - 13:9780801456824

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Table of Contents

Political Violence in Historiographical Perspective
Violence, Violence Specialists, and Politics
Violence and Democracy
Approaches to Comparative HistoryChapter 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 MovementChapter 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 ElectionChapter 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 PoliticsChapter 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 PartiesChapter 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 1960Afterword
Violence and Democracy
Violence, Fascism, Militarism
Violence Specialists and History
A Contemporary Perspective on Violent DemocracyGlossary

Editorial Reviews

"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