S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) 국제지역연구 국제지역연구 vol.02 (1993)
町內會의 문화적, 상징적 통합기능 - 『토이레(화장실) 사건』을 중심으로 한 사례연구
Cultural and Symbolic Integrative Function of Japan’s Neighborhood Association(Chonaikai) : A Case Study of the 「Toilet Incident」
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 지역종합연구소
- 지역연구, Vol.02 No.3, pp. 193-211
- This paper is a case study of an incident started by the effort on the part of the leaders of the neighborhood association and the city government to build a pubic toile: in a tiny park in Oshima-cho, Kawasaki City. Not having been consulted beforehand, some of the neighbors launched an opposition movement and succeeded in canceling the plan.
By this study I would like to make the following four points. Firstly, there is a general consensus concerning the proper ways of decision-making within the chonaikai in Japan. The problem is that people may not agree whether the norms were violated (and if so, how seriously?) in a given situation. Secondly, chonaikai cannot help making a significant part of its members dissatisfied and feel alienated because of its very constitution. This feeling of alienation and dissatisfaction can find expression in occasional outbursts of grudges against the leadership of chonaikai. The toilet incident is one such example. Thirdly, local leaders such as member of the town council does not and cannot use objective standards in resolving such conflicts. Instead, they procrastinate or abstain from active involvement. It is not rare that the existence of the conflict is denied or a scape goat is found. Lastly, the debate on whether there is such a thing as the "cultural type of chonaikai" and whether this cultural type constitute the basis of social organizations in Japan is not likly to lead to any conclusion. More meaningful questions can be asked if we focus on how these cultural types are used as instruments in the everyday life of the people at the chonaikai level.