From the âPeopleâ to the âCitizenâ: Tsurumi Shunsuke and the Roots of Civic Mythology in Postwar Japan Simon Avenell What could be more emblematic of postwar Japanese democracy than the spontaneous birth of the âcitizenâ (shimin) in the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty struggle (Anpo tîsî) of 1960? As the story goes, it was during Anpo that thousands of ordinary citizens came out to oppose the politics of Prime Minister Kishi Nobusuke and his supporters in the conservative Liberal Democratic Party. Organizing into egalitarian, nonideological groups, these shimin protestors apparently laid the foundation for a new autonomous form of activism and, for some, represented the first real sparks of popular democratic consciousness in the postwar period. Once a signifier of everything petit bourgeois and self-interested, now the shimin reemerged as the vehicle of social change, the watchdog and enemy of the state, and the guardian of democracy. Roused by the massive outpouring of popular dissent, shimin advocates at the time declared the birth of a new âcivic conpositions 16:3 doi 10.1215/10679847-2008-019 Copyright 2008 by Duke University Press pos163_10_Avenell.indd 711 positions 16:3 Winter 2008 sciousnessâ (shimin ishiki) and a âvigorous civic spiritâ (yakudî suru shimin seishin).1 The philosopher Kuno Osamu famously
positions asia critique – Duke University Press
Published: Dec 1, 2008
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