Taisho Research Paper

Words: 3593
Pages: 15


The radical shift in attitudes of Japanese society during the culmination of Meiji era and the dawn of the Taisho period “was characterized by a diminishing influence of the traditional authorities […] and more by open attitudes towards the West” (Tanaka). During the Taisho period (1912-1926 CE), western pop culture, persisting from the Meiji era, filtered through to the Japanese people and more and more progressive ideas began to take shape; notions like feminism, or even democracy, which, underneath the rule of the Meiji oligarchy, would only have ever been passing sentiments—even after a “parliamentary government made steady progress under the Meiji Constitution”, the government nevertheless attempted to regulate the political
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Social change was most dramatic in the cities, where higher living standards and educational levels increased exposure to popular culture. Reading novels and listening to the radio, young Japanese became engrossed in the "three S's": sports, screen, and sex. By the 1930s, most people resided in cities, where early in the decade begging, infanticide, suicide, and crime were prevalent in a depressed economy. War with China resulted in censorship, indoctrination, and mass arrests under emergency laws to restrict assembly, speech, and association. After Pearl Harbor, the government would continue to control resources, trade, labor, prices, wages, and public services. Neighborhood associations enforced rules governing all aspect of life. Just as blind devotion to the emperor had motivated suicidal kamikaze attacks of young pilots late in the war, civilians also had endured unimaginable privation and sacrifice in the hopes of achieving …show more content…
Although upwardly mobile Japanese postponed marriage and then limited their offspring to two children to better enjoy modern pleasures, Japan was still the world's most densely populated nation. With per capita income rising from $284 in 1958 to $8,414 in 1983 to over $22,700 in 1995, most people could afford cars, appliances, and televisions. Affluence brought better medical care, sanitation, and diet, as well as increasing rates of suicide, divorce, and juvenile delinquency. Women escaped prewar laws treating them as minors, but still lacked total economic and social equality. Children relied on help from "education mamas" to pass an endless number of tests. A serious challenge to children in school is the rising pattern of bullying, known as "ijime." Young Japanese embraced Western music, dress, and food, but arranged marriage remained common. Life in the Tokyo-Osaka industrial corridor typified modern Japan, where, amidst traffic jams, noise, and pollution, people commuted hours to service jobs, returning to small, crowded, and expensive apartments. The average dwelling for a family of four in the 1990s was around 1,000 square