Family As an Elementary Unit of the Nation-State: Crisis of Democracy and Founders of Sociology in 1930s Japan
In 1930s, the democracy of Japan was in crisis. The conservative government and the army emphasized the significance of Japanese traditional nationality (“Koku-tai”) and took advantage of people’s nationalistic feelings. Many social scientists were forced to cooperate with them. However, simultaneously, some sociologists attempted to reconcile democracy and Japanese traditional nationality.
One of the most important topics among them was Japanese family (“Ka-zoku” or “Ie”). In Japan, family was regarded as an elementary unit of political society for a long time. Confucianism, a traditional moral philosophy in Japan, regarded family as the most important unit of political society. Japanese intellectuals from the 1930s were also interested in the political roles of family.
For example, TODA Teizo was interested in family as the social basement of nationalism. TODA studied abroad and learned sophisticated methods of social statistics at that time, and historians evaluate his sociology for its empirical method. However, TODA attempted to investigate the importance of Japanese family from the political perspective, against simultaneous, non-rationalistic interpretations of Japanese government. The author analyses TODA’s unique understanding of nationalism and contributes to this session from a non-Western perspective.