Managing "strangers" and "undecidables": population registration in Meiji Japan

Chapman, David (2014). Managing "strangers" and "undecidables": population registration in Meiji Japan. In David Chapman and Karl Jakob Krogness (Ed.), Japan's household registration system and citizenship: koseki, identification, documentation and citizenship (pp. 93-110) Abingdon, Oxon, UK: Routledge.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Chapman, David
Title of chapter Managing "strangers" and "undecidables": population registration in Meiji Japan
Title of book Japan's household registration system and citizenship: koseki, identification, documentation and citizenship
Place of Publication Abingdon, Oxon, UK
Publisher Routledge
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Research book chapter (original research)
Open Access Status
Series Routledge studies in the modern history of Asia
ISBN 9780415705448
9781306481670
9781315889757
9781134512911
Editor David Chapman
Karl Jakob Krogness
Volume number 94
Chapter number 6
Start page 93
End page 110
Total pages 18
Total chapters 14
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
In modernity governments attempt to create order and remove what is perceived as flawed or defective. This is attempted through the creation of boundaries, edges and limits. However, the impossibility of achieving such precision plays out in everyday situations through the imperfection and diversity of the human condition and the possibilities of human agency.

In this chapter my argument is twofold. Firstly, I assert that modernization and the emergence of Japan as a nation and empire during the Meiji Period can be usefully understood in terms of a grand project of creating order with the family registration system (koseki seido) as the centerpiece in this process. Secondly, I claim that, although the koseki was continually modified to address local circumstances and create order, its introduction also inevitably produced unresolvable disorder and chaos. This resulted in communities being ambiguously placed and uniquely marginalized by processes of identification and documentation within the nation and throughout the empire.
Q-Index Code B1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Book Chapter
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Created: Thu, 12 Feb 2015, 08:54:26 EST by Ms Katrina Hume on behalf of School of Languages and Cultures