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Yasushi Suzuki

Subject Sociology » Urban, Rural and Community Sociology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Chonaikai refers to the neighborhood associations in modern Japanese cities. Although the name varies from city to city, with some called “self-governing” associations, chonaikai seems to be the most common name. A chonaikai is principally composed of all households in a neighborhood, with sizes varying from about ten to more than a thousand households. They perform comprehensive functions including anti-crime activities, traffic safety campaigns, fire and disaster prevention, sanitation, promoting mutual friendships, culture and leisure activities, mutual aid, transmitting information from city hall, and representing neighborhoods to local governments. The origins of chonaikai also vary from neighborhood to neighborhood. Some date back to feudal villages and the neighborhood units of feudal cities from before the Meiji Restoration of 1868. After the national government enacted the new law governing the cities, towns, and villages in 1888, some of the older villages and neighborhood units of the feudal ward systems became administrative wards supervised by local governments ( Akimoto 1990 ; Nakata 1993 ). Yet they were not exactly the same as the chonaikai defined above, because their membership was limited to wealthy landlords. Others were organized spontaneously in the first wave of urbanization beginning in the 1920s. The rise of self-employed merchants and factory ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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