S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) 국제지역연구 국제지역연구 vol.02 (1993)
일본의 지역생활조직 연구 - 町內會활동을 중심으로
A Study on the Japanese Urban Neighborhood Organizations - With a Special Reference to Chonaikai -
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 지역종합연구소
- 지역연구, Vol.02 No.3, pp. 95-108
- Chonaikai is a typical urban neighborhood organization in Japan, and has twofold characteristics : neighborhood autonomy and auxiliary functions to the local administration. This research aims to make clear how the Japanese social system is operated on the level of local society, and to what the integration and stability of Japanese society are attributed, and how the world of Japanese public opinions is formed.
Over 90% of the Japanese residents participate in neighborhood organizations such as Chonaikai, Jichikai, etc., The functions of these organizations in daily lives of Japanese are extensive from information networking to mutual help at the time of a funeral service. The organizational characteristics can be summarized as following: (1) membership system (3) comprehensive and diffuse functions (4) auxiliary functions to local administration (5) monopoly by the region.
Chonaikai was legislated as a smallest part of local administraion in the 1940s, and was used as machines to mobilize local people in the War, After the Second world War was over, the General Headquarters of the Allied Forces order Chonaikai to be dissolved. However, Chonaikai revived, not as the smallest unit of local administraion, but as the autonomous neighborhood organization after the Sanfrancisco Peace Treaty was concluded in 1952. Urban sociologists, political scientists, and journalists were severely critical of the revival of the Chonaikai, because it had been used to sustain feudalistic and militaristic system during the War. However, in the 1960s and after, there appeared some other scholars who evaluated it as "the pattern of Japanese culture", "a key to understanding Japanese society" or the basis for orderliness of Japanese society.
Major roles and statuses of Chonaikai organization are occupied by the self-employed shop owners and former policemen or government officials. They are major social forces that create and lead localist public opinion. On the other hand, we find other groups of new middle class and various civil movements, who are indifferent to or critical of the Chonaikai. These latter groups create and lead more universalistic public opinion.