Grass-roots industry in the town of Sakaki: an alternative perspective of the Japanese post-war "miracle"

Copyright (C) 1992, 2004 by Christopher Romig Keener

The rift between older and younger generations is a particularly interesting facet of the industrial controlling process, which I have shortened to the "industrialization process." Surely there is something to this notion of differentiating between two strategies of childrearing: the "protective," in which parents try to protect their children from the hardships which they endured and put all the emphasis on providing them a safe environment to pursue studies and achieve in the classical sense defined by the hegemony, and the "participative," in which parents treat their children as they were treated, expect them to be able to endure hardships and to gain strength from them. Childrearing practices may be considered among the mechanisms by which the industrialization process controls behavior down to the level of the family.

It is fascinating that the vast majority of Japanese I have met have opted for the "protective" strategy: this includes families of salary men and small shopkeepers in the city as well as it does the families of the different kinds of people I met in Sakaki (entrepreneurs, workers, farmers, elite government officials). They have all unknowingly bought into an ideology which controls them, which tears apart the family and creates a distance between generations: it isolates individuals from participation in social organizations which are not part of the industrial system (i.e. the family and local community). This trend is not limited to Japan, but is also prevalent in the United States, if not the entire Western world.

Clearly, large hegemonic structures have existed throughout human history. It is not their existence that is troublesome, it is the present process by which the connective institutions between them and the individual are being systematically deconstructed. Up until now, the individual has found empowerment through the intermediary institutions (e.g. family, community, single-sex fraternities, etc.) and through these has been able to balance the power of hegemonic control. But as these systems in between are systematically attacked from above, the hegemonic forms of control are increasing their spheres of control over the individual; the individual is increasingly powerless.

The mechanisms by which older generations (and, for that matter, younger generations) have allowed themselves to be influenced by these controlling processes requires further investigation. This study of Sakaki provides a starting point for exploring the mechanisms of hegemonic control which accompany industrialization.

Grass-roots industry in the town of Sakaki: an alternative perspective of the Japanese post-war "miracle"

Copyright (C) 1992, 2004 by Christopher Romig Keener.

         CHAPTER 1
         CHAPTER 2
         CHAPTER 3
         CHAPTER 4
         CHAPTER 5