Village life in the "new Japan"

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What it means to live in a contemporary Japanese village is shown through film shot especially for this series in Nijike, 430 miles from Tokyo. A housewife appears in the film sequences, but the voice heard in the narration is that of Miss Kimie Tojo, daughter of the late Premier Tojo. Professor Ward, host for the program, points out that the village has often been considered the backbone of traditional Japan. His guest, Richard K. Beardsley, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, concurs. It is the land, (Professor Beardsley says), the importance of working the land, of keeping it going, of keeping it in the family, that strongly enforces traditional ways in Japanese villages. These traditional ways stress cooperation on a family and on a community level, and the subordination of each person to the collective good. Holding and working the land is a way of life, not a business. Yet the modern world has made its impression on village life. A century ago the village had little connection with the outside world. Now, as a result of central government supervision, police and military conscription, economic changes brought about when the villagers began to raise crops for outside sale, a national system of schools, and the introduction of electricity and radios, this insular picture has altered. But because of the basic social conditions and the primary concern for working the land, changes occur slowly. In their own villages, younger men are gaining control because they understand machinery and marketing best. A real social transformation is taking place, but quietly, without violence, without setting life off balance. The families scrape a living from two acres of land and stay, for the most part, buried within the household and the community. They find satisfaction from living collectively. Their way of life has for generations fitted their nature and their circumstances; yet it seems flexible enough to make room for the new.
Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan; University of Michigan Television Center; Japan Society of New York; Robert Ward; Richard Beardsley; Kimie Tojo; Alfred Slote; Richard Bowman; Garnet R. Garrison; Hazen Schumacher Jr.; Tom Coates; Dave Johnson; Verne Weber; Joe Moffatt; Michael Berla; Frederick Remley Jr.; Larry Griewski; Joe Ramoge; Jim Masten; Warren Happel
National Educational Television; Indiana University Audio-Visual Center
Japan--Social life and customs--20th century ; Japan--Social Conditions--1945-.
National Educational Television
IUL Moving Image Archive
Rights Statement
No Copyright - United States
Physical Description
10 Films (4:21:00); 16mm}
Other Identifier
IULMIA Film Database: 30000136823741

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