Technology and Urban Society

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Town organizations in prewar Tokyo

Author: Nakamura, Hachiro
Series: Japanese Experience of the UNU Human and Social Development Programme series ; 3
Published Year: 1980
Main Text (PDF version)

Introduction 1

I. The Development of the Chonaikai 5
1. The Forerunners of the Chonaikai 5
2. Major Events Leading to the Formation of Chonaikai 20
II. Chonaikai Organization and Activities 30
III. The Institutionalization of Chonaikai 38
Conclusion 42
Notes 46


The cities of developing countries now have far higher populations than their economies can support and a trend toward what may be called "over-urbanization" has emerged. The inevitable result of this trend is the omnipresence of slum and squatter populations in and around these cities. All developing countries. are equally anxious to devise measures to deal with this problem and urban experts point out the necessity of organizing the residents of these slum and squatter areas into communities. Barbara Ward, in The Home of Man (Norton, 1976), a book which deeply influenced the discussion at the Habitat Conference (UN Conference on Human Settlements) in 1976, mentions in several places the particular importance of organizing these transient populations and fostering their creative and supportive role in developing countries. In considering the Japanese experience of modernization, we are naturally reminded of the chonaikai, or town associations, which have existed since the Meiji period.

Organizations like the chonaikai have long been regarded as unique to Japanese cities and not found in the West. In a study conducted by the Tokyo Municipal Government Survey Council, inquiries were made in the late Taisho period (early 1920s) concerning neighbourhood or town organizations in cities in the West. To that survey, Dr. Luther Gulick, then director of the New York Civic Research Committee, responded that as far as he knew, there were then no such organizations or associations functioning in the same way as chonaikai in Europe or America. He suggested, furthermore, that such organizations were the vestiges of Japan's feudal system. Scholars have accepted this statement and thereafter generally considered that chonaikai are unique to Japan. However, other cities outside Japan, although perhaps not in the West, have organizations similar to chonaikai. For example, in Calcutta, the mohalla'and in Hong Kong, the gal-fong wui were similar types of neighbourhood associations. Recently in the Philippines also, units known as barangay and i n Korea pansanghoe (hanjoka i) are being formed anew in what seems to be an effort to organize local residents after the pattern of the Japanese chonaikai. In consideration of this trend, this study focuses on the development of the chonaikai in the prewar period, the period when Japan was as yet a "developing country." Based on this awareness of the problems of urban organization, I will focus on Tokyo, which is the centre of Japanese urban development, and examine how chonaikai changed and developed, in the prewar period.

Today chonaikai are subject to rather severe criticism and widespread mistrust as reflected in the following quotation from the record of a discussion on residents' activities.

Chonaikai and jichikai [self-governing associations] may be set apart from the self-governing bodies of newly developed residential areas and high-rise housing developments (danchi) in the sense that they are extensions of the essentially compulsory neighbourhood organizations (tonari-gumi) set up. before and during the war in response to the necessities of national policy. I cannot help thinking that the government actually preserved them after the war as tools for continued control of local residents. I doubt that they should be called voluntary. In actuality, the chonaikai are subsidiary organs of the government, and local bosses use them as vehicles for satisfying their ambition and desire for fame.1

This claims that chonaikai are unofficial subsidiary organs of the government, and often controlled by powerful local figures. At the same time, chonaikai are also widely regarded as little more than the stubborn remnants of the feudal system, since their origins can, be traced to the goningumi, five-man mutual surveillance groups set up in the Tokugawa period.

This understanding of chonaikai prevails not only on a popular level but among scholars as well. Ritsuro Akimoto emphasizes in his study on the formative process of the prewar chonaikai that they were "a mechanism by which to channel the false spontaneity of the people as convenient for the bureaucratic power structure ..."2 and "played an important role as the fundamental unit in the fascist system."3 Susumu Kurasawa remarks concerning the contemporary chonaikai that one of the reasons they do not play a central role in new communities is that "for most urban citizens, chonaikai are not very attractive because of the role played during the war by the chonaikai and the tonarigumi."4 Both the popular and scholarly image of chonaikai, as stated above, are connected with the unpleasant memory that they functioned during the war as organizations effectively to mobilize the whole population in service of the militarist ideology.

But these unpleasant memories have had the effect of obstructing a dispassionate understanding of chonaikai and preventing more objective evaluation and awareness of what they were and are like. A survey carried out by the author in the suburbs of Tokyo revealed that there are quite a number of chonaikai which have characteristics different from those described above, but, because of the subjective distortions of researchers, the emergence of this distinct type of chonaikai has apparently been ignored. It should be remembered that the role played by the chonaikai during the war which earned them such a bad name was also played by universities. Students were forced to undergo military training and university presidents sent promising young men off to the battle field with glowing admonitions to serve their country well. In this context, it is arbitrary and distorted to single out the chonaikai for criticism for their wartime role.

It is hardly necessary to say that subjective distortion must be avoided in academic research of any kind, but I think it is particularly important to emphasize this point with regard to studies on chonaikai, in consideration of the reasons given above. If a study affected by such arbitrariness were presented for the reference of developing countries it might ultimately lead to errors in policy-making in those countries. In this paper, I have attempted to avoid these inherent dangers, particularly in the choice of resource materials.

Prewar material on the urban chonaikai, unlike that on the rural goningumi, is rather scarce, although a considerable amount is available on the period during the war. Needless to say, however, most of these materials are based on the principles of militarism and nationalism and are thus naturally lacking in objectivity. I was very cautious in using such documents, ultimately being forced to discard most of them as references.

On the other hand, studies on prewar and wartime chonaikai done since the war are beginning to accumulate. The study by Akiyama, mentioned above, is an example. Still, the objectivity of many of these is impaired by the reaction to the events of the war, and one must naturally be circumspect in the use of these materials as well. The policy of "national spiritual mobilization, which is such an unpleasant memory for Japanese, began in 1937 with the instructions of the Home Minister; the "Guidelines for Organizing Burakukai and Chbnaikai" which were derived from that policy were promulgated in 1940. In Tokyo a "Conference of Chonaikai Heads in Tokyo for Service to the Asian Co-prosperity Sphere" was held on 15 September 1939 at Hibiya Hall and wartime mobilization of chonaikai began full-scale around this time. This study and the materials used, however, for the reasons given above, will be limited to the period before that meeting.


This chapter divides the study of the emergence of the chonaikai in Tokyo before the war into two parts, the first describing the proto-types of the ch6naikai and the second giving a sketch of the main historical events that led to the emergence of chonaikai. Strictly speaking, in addition to the prototypes mentioned in the first half, there were ku or wards in areas surrounding Tokyo which were established prior to the 1932 expansion of the Tokyo metropolitan area, which should also be taken into consideration. But the connection of these wards with the chonaikai did not begin until the very end of the prewar period covered in this paper. While dividing the chapter into two, I tried to preserve chronological order throughout, but have omitted any discussion of the wards in the first part of the chapter in order to avoid confusion. This will be dealt with in more appropriate parts of the second half.


Luther Gulick regarded the ch6naikai as a vestige of the feudal past and many in Japan are of the same opinion, attributing its origins to the goningumi of the Tokugawa period. In actuality, however, there were very few examples of chonaikai which grew out of the Tokugawa feudal system or from customs originating in the late Edo period or early Meiji period. A survey carried out in 1925 by the Tokyo Municipal Government Survey Council, "A Study of Chonaikai in the City of Tokyo" (published January 1927), stated, concerning the founding of chonaikai, that "residents' associations (chonai dantai) in Tokyo city are completely different from small area associations (shochiiki dantai) in the feudal period and should be considered a natural development of economic, political and social influences in Tokyo following the Meiji Restoration."5 It goes on to say, "the survey focused on the chokai [chonaikai] in the Nihonbashi area, the area where native residents of longest standing are concentrated, but the dates of establishment for all the chonaikai in the area were recent and not a single town residents' association has a history that extends from any goningumi, nanushi or other system remaining from the feudal period."6

However, in 1933 the Tokyo City Office made a survey which reported several cases of chonaikai with roots in earlier organizations. Prototypical organizations included the goningumi [five-man groups], machisodai [town representatives], jinushikai [landowners' association], sewanin seido [the town elders system], sewaninkai [town elders' council], nenban seido [alternate service system], wakashukai [youth groups] and the ujiko dantai [shrine association].7 Except for the latter two, these consisted of landowners (jinushi) and estate managers (amore) and were lumped together under the general term, landlord and property owner organizations. (Machisodai and sewanin were elected from among the landowners and estate managers and the nenban seido was a system under whichofficials' positions were filled by annual rotation of duties.)

Five-man Groups

Many of the documents on chonaikai from the wartime period which I avoided using in this study stress the goningumi roots of chonaikai. Many regard the goningumi as such a prototype, as illustrated by the record in the Shinagawacho-shi (History of Shinagawa Town, published in 1912) which states that "the origins of the chonaikai go back very far, having emerged from the goningumi of the Tokugawa period."8 The Survey of Chonaikai in Tokyo (1933) gives an example. of such a case: the chokai [same as chonaikai] of Nakaarai 1-chome* in Itabashi ward.

*A chome is equivalent to a large city block intersected by smaller streets.

In the early Meiji period, an association called the Kita'arai-gumi was organized and five households were grouped together and called a kumiai (cooperative); five of these kumiai were combined to form a larger unit. Gradually the number of households increased, until it reached 100 just after the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923). On 1 October 1932, when Tokyo city and neighbouring districts were amalgamated, the Ki ta' a ra i -gum i became a chokai. 9

On the other hand, there is the statement in A History of Customs and Manners in Tokyo (Tokyo fuzokushi, vol. 1) published in 1898 that claims: "groups of five households organized for mutual assistance have completely disappeared . . ."10 endorsing the conclusions of the report by the Tokyo Municipal Government Survey Council. In the history of Shitaya ward published in 1935, there is the following observation: "As the present chokai are completely private as opposed to official organizations, they clearly cannot be considered successors of these systems (i.e., the goningumi system of the Edo period and the machidoshiyori system of early Meiji).11

We therefore find documents, on the one hand, that claim a connection between chonaikai and goningumi, and on the other those that deny it. The gap, however, may be attributable to the difference between areas that were already urbanized in the early Meiji era and those that were urbanized during the later expansion of Tokyo, such as Itabashi and Shinagawa. In many rural areas of Japan, the goningumi system was preserved even after the Meiji Restoration and when these areas became urbanized, as illustrated in the case of Naka'arai 1-chome in Itabashi ward, it is perfectly possible that the goningumi association that remained sometimes developed into a chonaikai. It may be accepted, however, that in areas already urbanized at the time of the Restoration (1868), the goningumi system had long since disappeared, as observed in the History of Customs and Manners in Tokyo.

In connection with this we must touchon the relation between the goningumi and the social division of Edo between townsmen and so-called "common people." Townsmen included landowners (jinushi) and home-owners (iemochi), estate managers (yamori, yanushi) and tenants (tanagari). The yamori were also called yanushi, and occasionally oya (landlords). They did not own rented houses, but were hired by the owners of houses to oversee tenants. Strictly speaking, the yamori formed the lowest stratum of the townsmen class, and it was of this social category that the goningumi were composed. In other words, tenants, who made up more than 60 per cent of the population of the city of Edo,12 were excluded from the goningumi. In September 1683 the bakufu issued an order (machibure) stating that "tenants should also be organized into goningumi, whose members should be aware of the activities of the others, and report any irregularities to their landlord or estate manager (yanushi or nanushi)."13 However, a report by a nanushi in the 1790s says, "In spite of your orders to organize tenants into goningumi they seem to have gradually disappeared and at present no area has any organized tenants' goningumi,"14 indicating that the practice existed only in name. If goningumi were organized by only a portion of the townsmen and commoner classes, this indicates that they were quite different from chonaikai, whose distinguishing characteristic was the inclusion of all the residents in a particular area.

Another important characteristic of thhe goningumi is that they stood at the very bottom of the hierarchy of town administration structure headed by the machidoshiyori and nanushi during the Edo period. The yamori who composed the goningumi had to take turns on a monthly basis handling administrative paperwork in the offices of the neighbourhood security headquarters. This lowest level of the administrative structure was abolished in dune 1869 during the Meiji reforms, but during the subsequent attempts at administrative reform, people from the previous town officer class were often put in charge of community affairs. Later these posts were held by unpaid machidoshiyori or paid town affairs officers who undertook the general tasks of administration in the town. It is recorded that on "3 November (1869), salaried town affairs officers were placed in each town. Many of those chosen for these posts were said to have been former landlords who had previously served monthly terms in the town as town officials."15 (This point will be discussed again later.) The functions of goningumi were further taken over by clerks who were sent by ward offices (established in February 1876). Subsequently, for example, births were reported directly to the ward office.16 Considering the above, if the goningumi structure was passed on in any way, it was to the lower levels of local administration. Thus in this respect as well there appears to be no direct continuity between the goningumi and chonaikai.

Landowner/Landlord Associations

Except for the areas which had previously been agricultural areas like Naka'arai 1-.chome in itabashi ward, the earlier organizations which might have become chonaikai were the jinushi and yamori organizations, rather than the goningumi. Both the landowners and landlords who owned or managed real estate naturally held a keen interest in the management of local affairs, and duties were conducted by individual towns under the appellation of chomu, or town duties. Understandably they undertook joint management of such affairs but perhaps even more important was their dominant status over tenants carried over from the pre-1868 period. The Mleiji bunkashi [A Cultural History of the Meiji Period), vol. 12, states that the landlords held the official posts in the town and effectively served as its spokesmen: ''in that context, they supervised rented property and houses, and within the framework of the town (cho) the network of relations between owners and tenants provided the foundations of commoner life and many other forms of cooperation in daily life were controlled by this relationship. "17 Even after the abolition of the goningumi, "the power of estate managers (sahainin) was considerable and it was extremely difficult to conduct the affairs of a town without their participation." When the office of choy6gakari (town affairs officer) was established under the new government, "many of those who were assigned to the new posts were former estate managers."18 The Cultural History also points out that in early Meiji, "expenses of local administration were still borne by landowners and estate managers. Therefore, most of the various autonomous local functions were handled through consultation among them. . . . Under such a system . . . the relationship between land-lords and tenants continued to serve as the basis for the general cooperative activities of daily life."19 Regarding the long-dominant position maintained by landowners and estate managers, the Tokyo fuzokushi also records that "since the beginning of the Tokugawa bakufu, for mare than two hundred years, the machidoshiyori, jinushi, nanushi and others conducted the administrative and other functions of self-government. Even after the system was abolished after the Restoration, the landowners, estate managers and other powerful local leaders continued to have implicit and explicit control over municipal administration."20

The citations above provide the background from which town organizations emerged. The Survey of Chonaikai in Tokyo describes chonaikai of this heritage, including examples from Nihonbashi, Asa kusa, Kojimachi, Ushigome, Honjo, Kyobashi and Kanda wards, all of which were already urban areas at the time of the Restoration.21

This provides further evidence that the chonaikai of later times did not derive directly from the goningumi, but from the relationship between those who composed the goningumi (the landlords and estate managers) and the tenants who existed outside the goningumi, i.e. between those who belonged to the goningumi and those who did not. Still, as I shall describe more fully later, chonaikai with origins such as this are relatively rare.

Young People's Groups

Five-man groups, landlord/landowner organizations, young people's groups, and the shrine associations (ujiko dantai) which will be dealt with below, are all traditional organizations, but the first two, as, previously mentioned, were related to the administrative structure, and were supported by the institutional framework. By contrast, the young people's groups and shrine associations lacked this institutional framework and they were organizationally quite different. It may be said that while the five-man groups and the landlord/ landowner organizations belong to the traditional institutional order, the other two belong to traditional custom.

The Survey of Chonaikai in Tokyo describes the young people's groups as having the following characteristics: "in each locality youth of between 15 and about 20) were organized into associations formed on the basis of a code among youth to enforce observance of decrees and laws of the ba kufu or government. Membership was open to all ordinary residents and activities were centred on the festivals of the local shrine."22 (Young people's groups were organized to "enforce observance of decrees and laws," but insofar as their membership was open and based on "a code among youth" they were clearly manifestations, not of traditional institutions, but of traditional customs.) This description is rather too simplistic, but it is clear from the follow-ing quotation from A History of Customs and Manners in Tokyo that their actual activities were similar to the chonaikai of later times:

Among the townsmen (chonin) there are groups of young people organized in each neighbourhood, and most young people join when they become 17 or 18 years of age. The main purpose is to develop friendships among the members and exert them-selves more energetically than anyone in the tasks connected with festivals of the local shrine and on ceremonial occasions, festive'or mournful, in the community.23

The following list of regulations for youth, included in the Kyobashishi [History of Kyobashi Ward] as "The Meiji 21 Regulations of the Wakamonogumi in the Tsukudajima Records, preserved in Tsukudajima Sumiyoshi shrine," indicates that the discipline imposed upon group members was very strict.

Regulations for Town Youth

By faithful observance of the ten principles declared above, young people should endeavour to earn the praise of their communities. Those who do not are a disgrace to their communities. Since any disgrace to the community tarnishes the name of the whole town of Tsukudanjima, those who violate these rules will be ostracized from the society of community youth and barred from communication with the town for the rest of their lives. Such a disgrace will follow them all their lives. All young people should strive to be discreet and obedient to these rules at all times.24

It is not clear to what extent these written rules were actually followed in the daily life of the town. For example, to return to A History of Customs and Manners in Tokyo, one comes across passages which suggest that there were frequent violations of the rules, such as the following:

The young people of the town carry the portable shrines around the streets during festivals, . . . thirty or forty of them gathering under the shrine and swinging and rocking it along the streets on their shoulders, shouting ''Wa-shoi, wa-shoi." When a portable shrine visits certain homes to bless them, some people take advantage of the confusion in this carnival atmosphere to vent their pent-up anger by breaking down the doors of houses and ripping the paper of the shoji doors.25

On the list of young people who belonged to these groups, and appended to this list of rules, notes appear above some of the names, indicating "expelled from the town," or simply "expelled," suggesting that there were many cases of ostracism as warned of in the final portion of the regulations given above.

In this connection, the History of Kyobashi Ward makes the significant observation that organizations of local residents, including the young people's groups, shrine associations and other religious groups, were exclusive and closed to outsiders: "community organizations were restricted to native, permanent residents, and persons who moved into the community from other areas were absolutely forbidden membership."26 By contrast, "the original purpose of the chonaikai was as an open organization to include all the residents living within a given area, regardless of their length of residence. It did have some qualities in common with earlier town organizations, but is distinct in that it is not exclusive. "27 Although the,chonaikai is often considered a premodern institution, they were in fact much more advanced than these young people's groups and other such traditional associations.

Shrine Associations

The Survey of Chonaikai in Tokyo found that "many chonaikai have their roots in previously existing shrine associations (ujiko dantai)."28 Among examples of the kinds of organizations which were forerunners of the chonaikai, the History of Nihonbashi Ward first lists the ujiko dantai:

The first [such predecessor of the chonaikai] was an association of local people (ujiko) centred on the village deity with which they identified. Representatives of the villagers or local elders would take charge of shrine festivals and co-ordinate the activities of the town in the service of the shrine. Through Shinto worship and reverence for ancestors, a tradition was created which was later passed on to the chonaikai. This tradition has left its traces in the location of many modern chonaikai offices within the shrine offices.29

On the other hand, the 'Tokyo City survey states that only 3.9 per cent of all chonaikai gave "festivals for village deities" as the reason for their founding.30 Moreover, of the 105 chonaikai existing as of July 1937 mentioned in the official history of Nihonbashi ward, only two were listed as having been founded for some religious'purpose.31 Perhaps among the various types of activities conducted by chonaikai, religious rites appeared the most impressive in the eyes of outsiders and thus led to the tendency to associate them with the shrine associations. This is perhaps why the Tokyo City survey seems to contradict itself and why the Nihonbashi ward history emphasizes the importance of the shrine associations.

It should be noted here that while the five-man groups, the landowner/ landlord organizations and the young people's groups were groups named after the composition of their members, the shrine associations were organized for a specific function. Yet some of the functions of the first three groups were related to shrine festivals. Both the activities and membership of these groups overlapped with the shrine associations. If all the prototype organizations whose main functions centred on shrine festivals are included in the category of shrine association, the figure could rise higher than that mentioned in the Tokyo City survey.32

So far I have discussed only those forerunners of the chonaikai related to the Tokugawa system of administration and to traditional customs, but few chonaikai can be traced to such beginnings, and we would be wrong to overemphasize the traditional elements in the formative process of chonaikai. The Tokyo City survey states that: "Unfortunately there is not sufficient evidence concerning whether or in what way contemporary chonaikai and these various associations of self-government in the Tokugawa period were connected."33 Perhaps because of this claim, the Tokyo Municipal Government Survey Council stated in its report that the chonaikai are not connected with the institutions of the feudal period. As I shall show, from the beginning of the Meiji period (1868) until World War II, the most important event in the formation of the chonaikai is the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, although the years prior to that were significant as well. For the sake of maintaining chronological order I began by discussing the Tokugawa system, yet up until the time of the Kanto Earthquake, the role played by sanitation associations and friendship associations was far more important than that of traditional village organizations.

Sanitation Associations

Among the contagious diseases which swept Japan during the Meiji period, cholera was the most feared. Cholera epidemics raged in 1879, 1882, 1886, 1890, and 1895, in each of which 2,000-3,000 people died in Tokyo. In the 1882 epidemic, more than 5,000 succumbed and in 1886 about 10,000. In February 1900, in order to stem the ferocity of these epidemics, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government promulgated metropolitan ordinance No. 16 entitled "Regulations for the Establishment of Sanitation Associations," based on Article 23 of the Epidemic Prevention Act (1897, Law No. 36). This ordinance became effective on l July 1900. _It stipulated that the heads of each household band together to form cooperative sanitation associations. It ordered that each association should have a president and vice-president and, when necessary, appoint committees, directors and secretaries. The law also required, each association to establish, at a general meeting, bylaws concerning the following: 1) name of the association, location of the association headquarters, and extent of association jurisdiction; 2) duties, term of appointment for directors or secretaries; 3) methods for handling association accounts and overseeing association property; 4) conduct of general meetings and committees; 5) measures for prevention of epidemics; 6) methods for punishing violators of rules laid down by the association; and 7) other matters as deemed necessary.

This ordinance was extremely effective in organizing residents and led to the eventual establishment of sanitation associations in each town throughout the entire Tokyo metropolitan area. The History of Nihonbashi Ward includes a list of 140 such sanitation associations formed within the ward.34 The History of Shitaya Ward shows that of its 38 sanitation associations, 25 were set up in 1900, 11 in 1901 and the remaining two in 1902,35 demonstrating the speed with which residents responded to this law. The thoroughness with which Ordinance No. 16 was implemented in Tokyo is indicated in a brief passage in the History of Fukagawa Ward, which states simply that "[sanitation] associations have been set up in every area of the city; and in our ward as well, every town has such an association."36 The 1886 epidemic, which wiped out over 10,000 people in a wave, left the residents of the city with many bitter memories, and it is easy to imagine that this was a major incentive for compliance with this ordinance.

However, a passage in the History of Fukagawa Ward states that:

The widespread development of these organizations not only did much to relieve and prevent. epidemics, but was also very effective in encouraging the development of public hygiene in general. But difficulties eventually arose from the need for large sums of money to carry out the purposes of the associations. It was not long before they became associations in name only and completely inactive, not only in Fukagawa ward, but all over Tokyo. 37

The History of Honjo Ward also states that "Although the ordinance has not been repealed, these sanitation associations have become inactive, not only in Honjo, but all over Tokyo,"38 indicating that although the policy to organize the residents for sanitation purposes got off to a promising start, it ended up being largely ineffectual. In addition to the need for large sums of money, problems arose from the fact that the regulations attempted to apply the same rules to all associations, without regard for local differences. Another reason was that, perhaps because of the gradual improvement of the sewage system and other sanitation facilities, the last severe epidemic to take-the lives of several thousands of people occurred in 1895. Perhaps an even more important reason, however, was that as chonaikai began to emerge, the functions of these sanitation associations were absorbed by the chonaikai. In some instances, the associations themselves were reorganized and became new chonaikai.

The sanitation associations were relatively short-lived, yet the absorption of their functions by the chonaikai was a significant stimulus to the development of the latter. The Survey of Chonaikai in Tokyo stated that "The establishment of sanitation associations was a great impetus, both direct and indirect, to the creation of chonaikai. Since the functions of the sanitation associations were restricted to sanitation and hygiene, they were prevented from engaging in other community activities. In most cases they were dissolved and chonaikai established in their place."39 The History of Honjo Ward gives only the sanitation associations as the predecessor of the chonaikai, stating that "chonaikai have been formed in such numbers that they exist in practically every ward of the city. These new town assocations are re-creations in a slightly different form of the sanitation associations.i40 A list of chonaikai in the New History of Nihonbashi Ward shows that as of 1 July 1937, 31 of the 105 chonaikai in the ward were believed to have been formed from previously established sanitation associations.41

It is often claimed that the reason for the longevity of chonaikai is that they were formed by the government. However, the sanitation associations, which were clearly formed by the government, did not persist, despite the fact that, as the History of Hongo Ward observed, "the ordinance has not been repealed." It would appear that government-formed organizations are not necessarily long-lived.

Friendship Associations

Documents concerning the formation of chonaikai frequently refer to "friendship associations" and "friendship societies," as in the examples that follow: ". . . it was a friendly time when [these associations] were responsible only for matters relating to weddings, births, funerals and festivals. . . .";42 "it has been only 30-odd years since friendship associations were formed among residents designed to promote harmony and friendship. . . .";43 "friendship societies organized for fellowship among public-spirited people of the town";44 ". . . chonaikai which have developed around fellowship societies of public-spirited people in the neighbourhood, as the name friendship society implies. . . .";45 the so-called friendship society whose only purpose was to maintain friendly relations";46 and "about half of the chonaikai in this ward are undergoing a transition from friendship societies to chonaikai. "47 These quotations indicate that the function of friendship organizations was to promote harmony and goodwill in the town and to assist at such occasions as marriages, births, deaths and festivals. There are a great many chonaikai which trace their beginnings to these friendship societies, as shown in Tables 1 and 2 below.

TABLE 1. Reasons for Founding Chonaikai for Entire Tokyo City Area

TABLE 2. Reasons for Founding Chonaikai in Shiba Ward (1935 Survey)

The History of Kanda Ward discusses the process by which eachof the chakai in the ward was established. The passage quoted below gives examples of two chakai, in Tomiyama-cho and Matsutomi-cho, which were originally friendship associations.

Tomiyama-cho chokai: In 1903 a group of public-spirited people in the town formed an organization named the Tomiyama-cho Volunteer Association which was designed primarily to promote goodwill in the town. This association promoted friendship among its members and harmony in the community. After the Great Kanto Earthquake and Fire, its activities were expanded and its name changed to that by which it is presently known.48

Matsutomi-cho chokai: Founded in 1909 under the name Shoeikai, it was a friendship organization founded by volunteers. It had no characteristics of note other than meetings held for the purpose of cultivating goodwill among the members. Later, in October 1923, it was reorganized into a chokai. All the residents of the town were made members and its activities were changed and expanded into the organization it is today.49

These friendship associations, however, had little to do with either the other organizations which were forerunners of the chonaikai or the various historical events which contributed to chonaikai formation as discussed below. They were no more than spontaneously created organizations. Most were formed in the midst of the drastic social changes that followed the Meiji Restoration and the subsequent rapid expansion of the city of Tokyo. The populations of many towns, even before the Great Earthquake, were very unstable. Newcomers often constituted a majority. Some towns were newly formed as the city developed. The Cultural History of the Meiji Period states:

Edo was made the capital city and its name changed to Tokyo, and in 1869 and 1872 land belonging to the former samurai and to the temples and shrines was taken over by the government and most of it was incorporated as property of the respective towns. Many former estates became the sites of government, military, educational or city facilities as well as companies and factories, eventually developing into a variety of urban communities. Even where older neighbourhood organizations of some form or another already existed, the area became mixed with new municipal districts which had no such traditional associations.50

The History of Arakawa Ward states that "in the early Meiji period, except for the area around Kozukappara-cho and Nakamura-cho, in Minami-Senju, Arakawa ward was a vast expanse of fields and rice paddies. It therefore had few chokai of long history."51 These examples demonstrate the situation in newly formed communities. One example of a transformed community is Shimokurumazaka, whose chokai is described in a "Survey of Chokai Activities on the Occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Inauguration of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government":

The town abutted Shimodera Avenue which was part of the property of the Toeizan Kaneiji Temple. Originally it had been a quarter inhabited by lower ranking bakufu officials and hatamoto [direct retainers of the shogun] families living in the area of Kurumazaka-machi, a town which was centred on Migusoku, Shitaya-machi 1-chome and Rengeji and Senryuji temples. But by 1893-94, most of the older residents had moved away and the temples had moved outside the area. It is now a purely commercial community.52

In a neighbourhood like this, it is only natural that earlier organizations, if they existed at all, should have completely disap-peared. Therefore, save for certain associations of residents set up in response to specific events, the chonaikai would of necessity have been created quite spontaneously.

The membership of the friendship associations which developed in this manner was limited at first to a group of public-spirited people of the community. It is not clear from what social strata these "public-spirited" people came, but references in related documents suggest that they tended to be largely landowning or other property-owning residents. The friendship associations were defined by their function, and if their membership tended to be made up mostly of landowners and other property owners, they would seem to fall in the same category as the landowner/landlord organizations. However, since no examples of such friendship associations have a history dating back to the early years of the Meiji period, they may be,considered distinct from the landowner/landlord organizations which were institutions of the Tokugawa period.

Like the young people's groups, the friendship associations in their early stages were composed of a limited group of volunteers. They were, therefore, relatively exclusive associations compared,to the chonaikai which included all the residents of the town.


In addition to these local or "internal" factors behind the formation of chonaikai, there were various external forces at work. Among these factors are several important historical events, including 1) the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05; 2) the Great Kanto Earthquake and Fire of 1923; and 3) the expansion of the metropolitan area in 1932. Actually, metropolitan ordinance no. 16, which set forth "Regulations for the Establishment of Sanitation Associations" as mentioned above, may be considered an external factor as well. However, the sanitation associations formed as a result of this ordinance ultimately became an internal factor and a forerunner of the chonaikai so I have included them in the above section. Thus, although I will not discuss the ordinance here, it should, strictly speaking, be counted among the events that contributed to the formation of chonaikai.

As well as the historical events listed above, I will also discuss the chonaikai which were organized on the advice or recommendation of the government. As we shall see, such advice does not carry particularly great weight, but it is valuable to examine the evidence offered by the references at hand, if only to counter the general belief that chonaikai were established by government initiative.

The Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese Wars

During the Russo-Japanese War residents' organizations were formed in a number of neighbourhoods to assist families whose men had gone to war and to send off soldiers or welcome them home. One example of this kind of organization was the Friendship Association of Imagawakoji in Kanda ward. "It began as a friendship association to welcome home the victorious soldiers as they began to return after the peace treaty was signed at the end of the Sino-Japanese war. It consisted of volunteers from three city blocks [cho] in Imagawakoji."53 The 1-chome Block Association of Mikawa-cho in the same ward called itself 'the Mikawa-cho 1-chome Volunteers' Association, established by a group of volunteers shortly before the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904. This chokai got its start as an association to send off and welcome soldiers and to viisit the families of soldiers who died in war.i54 While the Sino-Japanese War was, historically speaking, the first external factor that helped to bring about the formation of chonaikai, compared to later events it had relatively little influence. According to the History of Shitaya Ward, the chonaikai of that period were "extremely few in number and.their, organization tended to be both inadequate and incomplete."55

When the Russo-Japanese War broke out, the sanitation organizations already in existence added to the number of chonaikai. The History stresses that:

The outbreak of the war in 1904-05 provided the occasion for the rebirth of the long-dormant sanitation associations in the form of chokai and provided the occasion for a glorious new beginning,. The organizations were made up of young and old and men and women devoted to supporting the war effort. They busied themselves with visits to console the families of soldiers who died at war and in bringing relief and protection to the families of soldiers away at the front. The groups which convened again for these activities were none other than the sanitation associations of earlier days. Upkeep of sanitation facilities receded into the background, and the associations devoted their activities to support of the war effort.56

The New History of Nihonbashi Ward makes the same observation: "The founding of sanitation associations in every neighbourhood in 1900 was an.important factor in the emergence of the chokai, and the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese war in 1904-05 served as a further impetus in determining their final form."57 Yet even the catalytic effect of the Russo-Japanese War and the-consequent rebirth of the sanitation associations were not as strong a force in the creation of chonaikai as the Great Kanto Earthquake.

The Great Kanto Earthquake and Fire

"Until about 1923 there were still many towns in this ward which did not have chonaikai," states the History of Koishikawa Ward, but it goes on to say that this was changed completely by the Great Kanto Earthquake: "The fear and horror brought by the Great Earthquake and Fire caused people to set up assocations to strengthen community solidarity and provide local security. These associations continued to exist even after the earthquake and eventually became permanently established chonaikai. Today there is almost no town which does not have chonaikai."58

As you will note in Tables 1 and 2 above, the second most frequent reason given for the founding of chonaikai is the Great Kanto Earth-quake. Table 3 below, showing that the total number of chonaikai formed in the old wards and the newly established wards of the city rose drastically after 1923, gives an even better picture of how the Kanto Earthquake influenced the formation of chonaikai. In the original wards, the greatest number were founded during the five years following the Great Earthquake in 1923, a figure much higher than for the next five years (1928-33). By contrast, the figure for chonaikai founded in the new wards was highest in the 1928-33 period, a phenomenon which I will discuss in detail below. Thus, the earthquake obviously played a very important role in the establishment of the chonaikai.

TABLE 3. Figures for Chonaikai by Year of Founding

However, it is not clear from this table whether the chonaikai founded were organized as some type of pre-chonaikai association or whether they were reorganizations of existing associations. Yet most of the residents' associations of the various types mentioned above which existed until 1923 were transformed into chonaikai at the time of the Great Earthqua ke.59 Moreover, the new chonaikai made their appearance even in townswhere no suchorganization had previously existed.60

Expansion of the Metropolitan Area

Table 3 shows that the number of chonaikai in the new wards increased most remarkably in the period after the Great Kanto Earthquake; that is between 1928 and 1933. The major factor which brought this about was the 1932 enlargement of the Tokyo metropolitan area. Local Government Law No. 68 acknowledged the establishment of administrative districts within towns (cho) and villages. Before annexation to the city of Tokyo, there were 644 administrative districts in outlying cities, towns and villages. These administrative districts probably preserved to a certain extent the original boundaries of the traditional communities as they had stood for centuries. When these former villages and towns were absorbed by the city of Tokyo, new chonaikai were formed in some cases specifically to preserve the unity of the traditional communities. Ultimately, 24 per cent of the former 644 administrative districts were reorganized into chonaikai. This was particularly true in the case of Shibuya and Kamata wards, where almost all the original administrative districts were transformed into chonaikai.

The city area was extended to encompass five outlying districts (gun), in part because following the Great Kanto Earthquake, the population in those areas had surpassed that of the city of Tokyo itself. In these outlying areas where the population rose so drastically, the kind of social solidarity which had existed in the original administrative districts was often very hard to achieve among local residents. As a result, there were many chonaikai established which were totally unrelated to former administrative districts. In the response to the Tokyo City survey on chonaikai, Ebara Ward (now part of the Shinagawa ward) stated, for example, that ''When this area was incorporated into the city of Tokyo, some of the original administrative units were formed into chonaikai, because administrative districts were abolished by Local Government Law No. 68. In the absence of new administrative districts, 56 completely new chonaikai sprang up."61 The rapid increase in chonaikai in the new metropolitan areas in the period between 1928 and 1933 included not just the chonaikai based on the former administrative districts under the local government system, but also many which were created simply because of the rapid increase in population.

Advice of Government Agencies

The assumption that chonaikai are government-organized associations is rooted in the knowledge that they were used as institutions of co-ercion during the second world war. However, even before that time there are many chonaikai founded on the recommendation of government. For example, in 1920 the Shinagawa Chief of Police recommended that "security associations" be set up within the Shinagawa Precinct, and three years later, the Chief of Police of the Atago Precinct of Shiba Ward appealed to each town in the district to organize associations for local security. Concerning the security associations in Shinagawa ward, the History of Shinagawa Town states that:

In 1920 the Shinagawa Superintendant of Police, Shunsaku Fukushima, formulated a plan to improve and develop the chonaikai into entities of sound and effective self-government designed to keep in close contact with the police. He worked with town volunteers to set up rules for security associations and added the words "security association" to the names of all chonaikai in the area. After the Great Earthquake, most of these organizations dropped the words. Today more than 34 have thus shortened their names.62

Thus, quite soon after the Great Earthquake, and only three years, in fact, after the Chief of Police recommended their establishment, many of these organizations began to remove the words "security association" from their names.

Chonaikai were set up upon the advice of other government agencies as well, as in the case of Itabashi ward. The Itabashi ward office said:

Most [of the chonaikai in this ward] were set up on official recommendation after the ward was established, and ward officials continue to support and advise the still-infant
chonaikai, but no63to such an extent that it greatly interferes in local affairs.63

The Urasaruga ku Town Association of Kanda ward is another example of a chonaikai set up on the recommendation of the ward office in June 1924.64

While the documents at hand reveal the information that chonaikai were set up on official recommendation, it would be a mistake to conclude that all chonaikai were thus established. A glance at Tables 1 and 2 alone clearly shows that the number of chonaikai founded "on the recommendation of government" is extremely small. The number is low even in Shiba ward where the police chief actively encouraged the establishment of local security associations. The "security associations" of the Shinagawa Precinct, moreover, were formed from already existing associations rather than being completely new organizations. As I noted before, within- three years these "security associations" were largely being ignored.

As we have seen, official recommendation did play a certain role in the establishment of chonaikai before World War II, but that role was not of particular significance. Furthermore, as noted, the longevity of the chonaikai cannot be attributed to their establishment by the government.

In examining the predecessors of the chonaikai and the main factors in their formation/establishment, it must be kept in mind that chonaikai sometimes developed from more than one earlier type of organization and the relationships between the chonaikai and their predecessors are frequently quite complex. The Odenma-cho 2-chome association of Nihonbashi ward, for example, was formed in 1937 from several different types of organization, as the following citation shows:

After the Meiji Restoration, the major landlords in the district formed a landlords' association to administer the internal affairs of the town and to handle festivals of the local Ikesu Shrine. Later this association was merged with a friendship association of local residents and named the Tori Hatago-cho Friendship Association. In July 1900, a sanitation association was established by city ordinance to promote public sanitation in the town, and the year after the Great Kanto Earthquake, in July 1924, the Tori Hatago-cho Friendship Association was merged with this sanitation association and renamed the Tori Hatago-cho Chokai. In December 1932 when town boundaries were readjusted and the names of the towns changed, the association was renamed the Odenma-cho 2-chome chokai.65

The shrine and sanitation associations did not individually develop into chonaikai; it is more likely that they were absorbed or combined into friendship associations which had developed separately. Also, chonaikai were often formed in towns where there had been no previous, town organization, especially in the wake of the Great Kanto Earthquake. The outline given in Part 1 of this chapter is thus intended merely to clarify the nature of these various organizations.

There is still much that is unclear concerning the factors that caused the early organizations of the towns to be transformed into chonaikai. As noted, all the earlier organizations, with the exception of the sanitation associations, tended to be exclusive in membership, a quality that distinguishes them from later chonaikai. One impetus for changing earlier organizations into chonaikai was the awareness that organizations of an exclusive nature could not properly respond to urgent local problems, such as those brought by the Great Kanto Earthquake. One personal record states that "Odd as it may seem, our town did not become aware of the importance of a chokai until we experienced the horrors of the Great Kanto Earthquake. By that time there were already one hundred chokai in existence. "66 Although there were among these many that were not derived from an earlier organization, it is apparent that many organizations had already been transformed into chonaikai before the Earthquake. As to the figures for the founding of chonaikai in Table 3, while-there is some question about consistency in determining the year of founding, it is clear that in the period immediately before the Earthquake, between 1918 and 1922, there was a remarkable increase in the number of chonaikai. This table also shows a short period of increase between 1903 and 1907, but this was apparently caused by the catalytic effect of the Russo-Japanese War and the creation of the sanitation associations. As for the increased numbers of chonaikai in the Taisho period prior to the Earthquake, the documents I have collected provided no clues as to why this might have occurred.

It is purely my conjecture that it occurred as a result of rising dissatisfaction, criticism and re-evaluation of the exclusiveness of older organizations. Although the evidence is meagre, there was some suggestion of such a trend in the documents I used, as illustrated by the chonaikai described below:

Hashimoto-cho, 2-3-chome Association, Kanda Ward. Organized in 1894 as a friendship association, it was designed to promote friendly cooperation and provide the volunteers for festivals, sanitation services and other general tasks. However, the.friendship associations were not open to everyone in the town and there were some who had no wish to be members. A small group of the same people usually held the same posts in the association and their arrogance created dissatisfaction among some who felt that their attitudes were contrary to the purposes of the association. . . .67

Yushima 1-chome Association, Hongo Ward. The leading citizens directed the affairs of the town, as was customary during the Tokugawa period, but there were others, including young people, who opposed this and established a town representatives' council and chose its officers by election. This council helped, with census taking, sprinkling the roads in summer to keep down the dust, clearing snow, sanitation and other tasks.68

The Roseki Association of Kanda Ward was first established "in 1912 as the Roseki Volunteer Association. Later, in April 1921, its activities were expanded and its bylaws revised to include all the residents of the towns of Roseki and Sekiguch,"69 indicating that it had already been transformed into a chonaikai before the Great Earthquake. The chonaikai of Kanda's Matsushita-cho is another example of a town organization that was transformed into a chonaikai as the result of "the prevailing trend in the year 1912. Again it is only my guess, but the "prevailing trend" may well have meant the growing dissatisfaction with the exclusive earlier organizations. I found no other examples of this type, save-for the Yokodera-cho chokai of Ushigome Ward, which is described as follows:

An association of landlords, consisting of people from the privileged classes, had existed since the Tokugawa period, their activities centring on the festivals of the local deity. As various changes occurred in society, the group realized the need to make the association more open to the general populace, and on 15 May 1918 its membership was opened to all the residents of the town.71

In fact, this was the age of "Taisho Democracy" and if my assumption is correct it is quite possible that the liberal ideas of the day influenced the formation of chonaikai to a certain degree. If such a conjecture is valid, then this social trend should also be added to the list of historical factors which contributed to the creation of chonaikai.

There were others, of course, beside those presented in Part 2 above, which varied according to the individual conditions of each town. These included the increase in night stalls, movements for reform of local government, protests against the location of garbage incinerator plants in the town, protection against floods, large fires in the town, rice riots, the opening of the peace exposition, extension of railway lines, or landlords' and tenants' disputes.72


According to a survey on chonaikai, as of September 1936 there were 1,301 in the original 15 wards of Tokyo and 1,721 in the sections newly annexed in 1932, a total of 3,022. This figure is very close to the number of towns in Tokyo at that time (where one chome is considered equivalent to one town). A total of 1,056,075 households belonged to these chonaikai, or 89 per cent of all the households in the Tokyo municipal area. Of course, there were areas which did not have chonaikai, such as office-building sections, slums and upper-class residential areas, but the total number of towns in these areas was only 30, and contained only 1,113 households.

Along with this remarkable proliferation, the combined revenue of chonaikai also rose tremendously. In the fiscal year 1935, the dues collected by all chonaikai in Tokyo totalled ¥4.1 million, an amount equivalent to 57.8 per cent of regular tax revenues for the 35 wards in the same fiscal year. These factors forced the municipal government to recognize the real import of the chonaikai.

With regard to chonaikai activities, the Chokai kiyaku yoryo [Outline of Chokai Regulations], published by Tokyo City Hall in 1924, states that:

The older chonaikai established in the Edo period retained the traces of the five-man groups and short-term town officials (jishinban). Those which had developed with the functions of a friendship association fostered close ties among members through periodically-held social gatherings and through assistance at births, marriages and funerals. Those which had emerged from the sanitation organizations, formed in response to the "Regulations for the Establishment of Sanitation Associations" promulgated in 1900, were naturally responsible mainly for sanitary facilities. Chonaikai organized as a result of the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), the Russo-Japanese War (1904-05) and World War I conducted activities chiefly related to the military. Those formed from the shrine organizations tended to restrict their activities to overseeing local festivals, while those which grew up after the Great Kanto Earthquake had their main activities in the field of local security and relief work. Thus the chonaikai emphasized different activities depending on their origins.73

This statement tells us that although the chonaikai performed various types of activities in the early stages, each chonaikai tended to confine its focus of activities to only one sphere. The Regulations continue with a description of how the situation subsequently developed.

"The activities of chonaikai mixed and refined and today the tasks shared by most chonaikai are of five major types,"74 namely sanitation, military-related matters, festivals, local security, and matters connected with births, marriages and funerals. That is to say when this survey was conducted in May 1923, three months before the Great Kanto Earthquake, the chonaikai were not single-function organizations but engaged in a variety of activities. The five types of activities listed above are those conducted by more than half of all chonaikai in Tokyo at the time and if all other types of activities are also included, it is clear that, by the time of the Earthquake, the chonaikai engaged in a much larger number of activities: according to the same report, 23 types altogether.75 Of these, 14 were selected for detailed discussion in the 1925 Tokyo Municipal Government Survey Council study, as listed below:

1. Activities related to births, marriages and funerals.
2. Sanitation (dredging of sewage; cleaning toilets; garbage and night soil disposal; extermination of mosquitoes and flies; inoculations against contagious diseases; and meetings, lectures or films on health and hygiene).
3. Military-related activities (sending off or welcoming back people going to or returning from the war front; presenting them with congratulatory gifts of money; and visiting the families of war dead to extend comfort and assistance).
4. Festivals.
5. Local security (nightly security and fire prevention patrol; posting of disaster prevention posters; and distribution of hand-pumped fire extinguishers).
6. Relief (visits. to extend comfort and assistance to earthquake and other disaster victims, as well as for the aged, the children of the poor, and the disabled).
7. Traffic support activities (lighting roadlamps; sprinkling streets to keep down the dust; and erecting map boards of each neighbourhood).
8. Commercial affairs (street decorations and issue of lottery tickets to promote sales - in the case of chonaikai, only in shopping districts).
9. Government agency-related activities (negotiating with government agencies in the collective interest of town residents; and relaying information to citizens from government agencies).
10. Educational affairs (encouraging children to attend school; giving awards to the best students; providing lectures; and maintaining children's playgrounds).
11. Counselling and arbitration (providing counselling in personal matters and arbitration in disputes; and preventing slander).
12. Presenting of awards (to the most dutiful and well-behaved children, the most virtuous wives, and people who provided distinguished service to the town).
13. Financial activities (organization of a mutual financing association).
14. Others.

The 1933 Tokyo City survey report contains exactly the same headings as those listed above. "Others" include free letter-writing services for illiterates, purchasing organizations, special contracts for doctors and midwives, maintenance of local police boxes, and sprinkling the streets.76

Tables 4 and 5 compare the conduct of the different functions of chonaikai between the Taisho (1912-26) and the Showa (1926-) periods. The figures in Table 4, derived from (a) The Outline of Chokai Regulations for the situation as of 1923, and (b) the report of the above-mentioned 1933 survey by Tokyo City, show the percentages of chonaikai engaged in each function. In Table 4, some figures are available for 1923, but a comparison of those that are available for 1923 and 1933 clearly shows that the percentage of chonaikai involved in functions where both figures are available is much higher in 1933. As mentioned earlier, the functions chosen for 1923 were limited to those conducted by the greatest number of chonaikai at that time. Nevertheless, the large gap between 1923 and 1933 indicates the undeniable fact that the chonaikai greatly expanded their range of activities during the intervening decade. In other words, by the early Showa period, the chonaikai had already taken on a strong multi-functional character. The table does not include a heading for negotiating with and relaying information to and from government agencies, but the Tokyo City report states that "these activities are being carried out by all the chonaikai without exception,"77 which may be the reason the report apparently considers it unnecessary to include that heading.

TABLE 4. Comparative Figures by Functions of Chonaikai

TABLE 5. Trends in Chonaikai Expenses

Table 5 shows the percentages of expenditure spent on the various functions of chonaikai for fiscal years 1924 and 1933, using data drawn from the two surveys referred to above with some editing by the author.78 The table gives some general idea of the trends in chonaikai expenditure broken down by function. Aside from the "miscellaneous" and "other" categories, functions which experienced considerable fluctuations during the period between 1924 and 1933 include "sanitation," "night watch," and "public facilities." The percentage for sanitation expenses is higher for fiscal year 1933, coinciding with a passage in the Tokyo City report stating that: "Today chonaikai activities are focused on sanitation services, particularly disposal of garbage and night soil."79 On the other hand, the expenses for night watch and building of public facilities occupied a greater proportion in 1924 than in 1933, most likely because in 1924 the lingering after-effects of the Great Kanto Earthquake would still have been felt. Table 5 also reveals that the chonaikai had already become a multi-functional group, and had shifted the relative weight of their activities to keep pace with social changes, suggesting that the chonaikai cannot be considered stubbornly traditional.

I must add here that the documents gathered for this study did not provide sufficient information concerning the transformation of chonaikai to multiple-function groups nor concerning the social conditions behind that transformation. The opinions expressed in individual ward responses to the Tokyo City survey in 1933, however, do include some helpful information, such as in the following passage from the Kanda ward response:
1. . . . The original form of the friendship association, from which the chonaikai had originated, remained unchanged sometime just before the Earthquake, and since it attached the utmost importance to fostering goodwill in the town, the laudable custom of mutual help spread, and peace was maintained. However, the association performed few activities worthy of note, doing little more than assisting at ceremonial events such as births, marriages and funerals.
2. . . . The upheavals that occurred in every aspect of society in the wake of the Great Earthquake imposed more numerous and complex duties upon the chonaikai, forcing them to branchout from the earlier narrow confines of local "friendship activities." Chonaikai were thereupon systematized and their activities separated. Expenses went up tremendously and the chokai underwent a complete change of character.
3. . . . Prior to the Earthquake, contact between the ward office and chokai was scant and few tasks were delegated by the ward office . . . but in recent years, the ward has greater and more diversified responsibilities than ever before, forcing it to delegate many more tasks to the chokai.80

These statements indicate that the drastic social changes and the rapid expansion of ward office responsibilities actually brought about the differentiation of chonaikai activities and the increase of tasks delegated to the chonaikai by the ward office. While the Kanda ward report suggests that this trend occurred after the Great Kanto Earthquake, the Outline of Chokai Regulations, based on the survey conducted before the Earthquake, reports that chonaikai already undertook many different types of activities. If so, we may speculate that the background changes mentioned in the Kanda ward report actually began to occur prior to the Earthquake, if not long before, sometime in the mid-Taisho period. At the same time we can understand that the diversification of chonaikai functions came about as the natural response to drastic social change as suggested in the report.

Here we may recall the conceptual scheme used by sociologists regarding the relationship between pre-modern and modern groups. This scheme defines the process by which modern groups emerge from the collapse of the pre-modern group as follows: as society modernizes, pre-modern groups, characterized by all-inclusive membership and functional absence of differentiation, begin to differentiate and to be separated into different groups, each specializing in a single function. Each single-function group that emerges is a "modern group." In such modern groups, individuals freely participate according to their functional preferences and thus membership in modern groups is limited to those who wish of their own,will to enter that group. However, as will be apparent from the case of the ch(r)naikai, the historical process brought about the reverse process of that presented in the theoretical diagram. (Functional differentiation and multiple functions are different names for the same phenomenon.)

The chonaikai, now a multiple-function, all-inclusive group, evolved into a "pre-modern group" as defined by sociologists. This very similarity is sometimes used as grounds for criticizing the chonaikai today. Yet the evidence suggests that these characteristics were formed in response to historical change. Even after chonaikai became a multiple-function group, changes in circumstances further diversified their functions or shifted the relative weight placed on each function. This quality of chonaikai makes them perhaps a more effective organization than many single-function groups, in whose case a new group must be created every time a new problem occurs.

With this considered, it is clearly pointless to try to apply the sociological scheme mechanically in the case of chonaikai, and any criticism of chonaikai on that basis is of dubious value.

In retrospect, on the other hand, it is apparent that functional diversity was one factor in the smooth mobilization of the chonaikai during wartime. If the residents' organizations at that time had been single-function groups rather than multiple-function chonaikai, a totally new organization would have been necessary to rally urban citizens to cooperate with the war effort, and the mobilization of urban residents would have been much less efficient. The chonaikai at that time, however, were a complex-functional group, so that only slight functional adjustment was needed to incorporate the chonaikai into the national war effort. It should be kept in mind that over-emphasis on this aspect alone is conducive to a prejudiced conclusion, as I have already observed in the Introduction.


Chonaikai gradually spread, and as they began to consolidate the functions of earlier organizations, they began to undertake various public services such as sanitation, local security and liaison and negotiation with government agencies. At the same time, administrative authorities gradually began to take a greater interest in these organizations. On 25 November 1922, both the Mayor of Tokyo and the Minister of Home Affairs sent messages of congratulations to the inaugural meeting of the Sekiguchi Self-governing Association Council of Koishikawa ward.8' In the documents collected, this is among the earliest examples of such interest by governmental authorities. It should be kept in mind that this early interest stemmed mainly from the potential social education value of chonaikai to community residents, and did not go much beyond expressions of encouragement for their continued development. This is suggested from the fact that the first survey on chonaikai made by the city of Tokyo, An Outline of Chokai Regulations, was compiled by the Civic Education section of the metropolitan administration.

Not long after that, however, chonaikai proved their value not only in terms of social education, but also as the most basic unit of administration in the city. After 1926, city and ward office management regulations were supplemented with a document called "Matters Concerning Chokai," probably as a result of the experience of the Great Kanto Earthquake.

Chonaikai also became the subject of debate in the Tokyo City Council at this time and in September 1929 a "Proposal for the Establishment of an Investigatory Committee on the Institutionalization of Chonaikai" was signed by 60 members of the city council. As a result of this, an investigatory committee was set up in February 1932, and the conclusions of its study were compiled in a document entitled "Advisory Report of the Investigatory Committee on the Institutionalization of Chonaikai." This report was approved by the Council in July, but the only concrete measure taken as a result was to hold a meeting in recognition of the meritorious service in local self-government by various community leaders as well as official commendation of the chonaikai and their officials. In 1935, the Tokyo City Council issued a strong recommendation to the directors of the chonaikai to take steps to adapt their organizations to the institutional framework, and funds were appropriated in the 1936 budget for the institutionalization of chonaikai. The following year these funds were doubled to enable the metropolitan government to implement its chonaikai policy. This period coincided with Japan's preparations for war, an environment in which the institutionalization of chonaikai was quickened. However, the institutionalization of chonaikai was not initially considered a part of war preparations and apparently did not proceed particularly smoothly.

It becomes apparent from a perusal of materials published on the chonaikai in the period before war mobilization that they were then regarded as important forums for promoting self-government among local residents. In 1926, however, there was already criticism of this view, as in an article by Suejiro Yoshikawa, ''The Uselessness of Chonaikai in the City of 'Tokyo.'Yoshikawa argued that chonaikai were inefficient in their handling of public affairs, that there were many better ways of managing such affairs and that such small-scale associations were on the decline in cities around the world.82 Six years later Hiroshi Kakegawa published an essay which maintained that, despite Yoshikawa's criticisms, the chonaikai played a significant role. While stating that any attempt to transplant the neighbourhood organizations of rural villages into the environment of the big city would be difficult, he pointed out that many problems arise in large cities that are confined to small, localized areas. He argued that since the municipal government of a large city could not possibly handle the burden of so many small problems, there was merit in relying on town residents' organizations such as the chonaikai to attend to these matters. He also stressed that since government tends to be highly specialized and compartmentalized, creating a wide gap between the government and the people in large cities, chonaikai are ideally suited to the role of fostering interest in community government among local residents.83 Some of those who advocated the institutionalization of the ch6naikai and led the movement did seek to recreate the traditional social order of small villages. But most emphasized the chonaikai as a means of promoting self-government, as advocated by Kakegawa.

The institutionalization of ch6naikai included plans to establish one organization for each town, regularize the size of membership and standardize the regulations and dues of chonaikai, regulate the nomination and selection of officials, and establish a chonaikai federation. These plans were also aimed,at preventing the outbreak of disputes and the intervention of party politics in community affairs. Advocates of institutionalization believed that after these measures were taken, it would be possible, with the help of government subsidies, to promote the development and efficient functioning of chonaikai. Direct responsibility for implementing these measures belonged to the ward offices, but aside from the formation of a chonaikai federation, most of these plans never materialized. Most of the irregularities which the governmental authorities believed should be corrected were practices growing out of the needs of each town based on specific local conditions, and it was extremely difficult to put these conditions aside in order to carry out a uniform government policy. Government officials, moreover, were well aware of the complexity of these conditions and although they hoped to implement standardizing measures, they could in fact do little.

This state of affairs is clearly reflected in Noboru Tanigawa's essay, "Incorporating the Chokai System into Metropolitan Administration." He states that "Policy for chonaikai does not take into account the current level of chonaikai development. The policies made were designed for the chonaikai as they were in the early phase of their development.""84 Tanigawa also stresses repeatedly that almost no concrete measures were implemented and criticizes the government for ""semi-laissez-faire-ism"85 and "laissez-faire principles,"86 and being "too inclined to the laissez-faire principle and taking only slight interest in promotion and supervision [of chonaikai]."87

I mentioned earlier that the formation of chonaikai owed very little to "the advice of government agencies" and Tanigawa's description of government policy as "laissez-faire" further supports the fact that there was little official influence on the chonaikai before wartime preparations began in the late thirties. Despite the lack of specific policy measures, the government did have a serious concern for the chonaikai, even if its interest was basically focused on the promotion of self-government. Of course, war mobilization followed and by the time the original measures planned for chonaikai had been implemented, this concern had imperceptibly shifted to support for the conduct of the war. Nevertheless, the period of such close intervention of the government in chonaikai was a comparatively brief event in the entire history of chonaikai.


In this paper I dealt first with the predecessors of the chonaikai and then the factors which stimulated the formation of chonaikai. The discussion then touches on the organization, activities and functions of the chonaikai as they began to form throughout most of the city of Tokyo. Finally, I describe the government attempt to institutionalize chonaikai. In view of the various erroneous assumptions made about chonaikai, I should like to recapitulate the main points toward which this study is directed.
1. Only a few chonaikai have any precedent in traditional institutions or customs.
2. Except for a few cases of chonaikai in former farming villages, goningumi are not likely to have been the predecessors of the chonaikai. The most significant legacy of the goningumi heritage in the chonaikai is perhaps their public and administrative nature. The chonaikai, rather than being the direct descendant of the goningumi, actually have their roots in the relationship between the landlords of which the goningumi were composed and the tenants excluded from them.
3. There were predecents for chonaikai in traditional institutions or customs, but membership shifted away from exclusiveness to open membership and from single-function groups to multiple-function associations, which suggests that there is little likelihood of direct continuity between them.
4. Among the predecessors of chonaikai, the vast majority were the spontaneously-formed mutsumikai, or friendship associations.
5. In membership and function, the chonaikai developed by a process precisely opposite to that described by sociologists in the progression from communal groups to modern associations. It is not valid to assert that the chonaikai are of the primitive communal type because they have multiple-function and all-inclusive membership. In fact, chonaikai acquired these characteristics as their history advanced, in order to cope with changing times.
6. Although not discussed at length above, the fact that the chonaikai were very adaptable to the times should not be overlooked. Chonaikai are generally believed to have been a hindrance to progress and the epitome of cultural backwardness, but in fact they appear to have kept pace with changes in the thinking of the general urban populace. I do not think that the chonaikai clung to old-fashioned patterns to the extent of ignoring popular attitudes and thinking. While they may not have been ahead of the times, neither did they fall behind. And if the chonaikai cooperated with the military dictatorship during the war, they, like the universities, were only one institution of many put to work in support of the war effort.
7. Today there is a strong tendency to treat chonaikai as officially instituted groups, but before war mobilization there were few factors in the creation of chonaikai which suggest a significant degree of government intervention.

(1, 2, and 3 above, in short, refute the thesis that traditional factors contributed appreciably to the establishment of chonaikai. This means that if and when the establishment of comparable community organizations is contemplated in developing nations, the absence of a tradition of town organizations should not prove a major obstacle.)

The above points concerning the prewar chonaikai of Tokyo support a view of chonaikai that is much more positive than the general image of these organizations. Yet it is necessary to be fully cognizant of various problems inherent in the prewar chonaikai. One problem was lack of organizational uniformity, and part of the reason the government began to consider the institutionalization of chonaikai was the desire to bring them under a degree of standardization. I listed above several of the measures planned by the government for the institutionalization of chonaikai, most of which reflect the effort to counter certain problems of chonaikai at that time.

There were other problems as well, which had already appeared by the end of the Taisho period (1926). These problems, in fact, remain largely unresolved even today, and it may be that they are an unavoid-able aspect of chonaikai-type organizations. One is the use of chonaikai as a springboard for election by local politicians. A survey by the Tokyo Municipal Survey Team at the time of the 1925 Ward Council elections showed that, of 181 council members who responded to the survey, 64 had been president or vice-president of a chonaikai and 68 had held other official posts in chonaikai at the time of their election." Some councillors criticized the use of chonaikai for election purposes but even so, it is difficult to condemn this practice in the light of the shady activities of ''election brokers."89 Nevertheless this association of chonaikai with elections has been a consistent source of criticism.

A second problem is that too many tasks are delegated to the chonaikai by government offices. Documents record chonaikai officials' frequently-expressed criticism of and strong dissatisfaction with government authority on this point.90 Furthermore, in interviews conducted during a field survey of chonaikai officials, I encountered the very same sentiments.

Another problematic aspect of prewar chonaikai is that the intelligen-tsia, including teachers, government officials, bank employees and so on, were in general indifferent and uncooperative.91' Again, this dilemma is a recurrent theme in the records of chonaikai officials. Although the majority of local residents approved of and participated in the various activities of chonaikai, some of the so-called intelligentsia were opposed. This problem had already appeared in the late Taisho period and emerges now and then even today over certain issues. It is possible, although this may be mere conjecture, that this problem was caused by differences in lifestyle and values among urban residents. In other words, from the point of view of the norms and values of the vast majority of city residents who belonged to the shomin class, the activities of chonaikai were approved and accepted. And indeed, chonaikai were oriented toward the ordinary citizen.

Meanwhile, the new intelligentsia in prewar Tokyo, much influenced by the West, were steeped in a very different cultural milieu than that of the vast majority of urban residents. The attitudes that grew out of such a milieu undoubtedly led to their criticism of chonaikai. This condition of approval by the majority of citizens and disapproval by the intellectual minority continues even today. Opposition to chonaikai is most frequently expressed in terms of their "collaboration" with militarism during the war. But perhaps this is not the true reason for the distaste of intellectuals for chonaikai. The "collaboration" argument may merely have been used to justify opposition on cultural grounds. In short, in the context of a cultural gap among urban residents, opposition to chonaikai by a minority was inevitable.

In closing, let me say that while I have attempted to investigate both the merits and. faults of prewar chonaikai, the documents at my disposal were limited both in quality and quantity, making it difficult to offer a reliable evaluation. Chonaikai weaknesses as discussed in the essay by Suejiro Yoshikawa mentioned above, include the inefficiency of chonaikai management, and the double burden imposed on citizens to pay both municipal tax and chonaikai dues.

Hiroshi Kakegawa, on the other hand, believes that the usefulness of chonaikai in community society cannot be ignored, since they can under-take problems beyond the capacity of government agencies to resolve. While not openly supportive, viewing chonaikai activities as trivial, he does admit the merits of chonaikai functions. By contrast, Shoichi Saito, in his essay "Sanitation Activities of Tokyo Chonaikai and their Modernization," has high praise for the sanitation-related activities of chonaikai, which claimed their greatest investment of funds.

Thus it is difficult to make an adequate judgement of the merits of chonaikai. Nevertheless, considering the fact that they received very little government assistance before the war, chonaikai achieved remark-able development. If the majority of city residents had not supported and approved of chonaikai, this development would not have been possible.


1. Sadanari Yamagami (comp.), "Jumin undo kesu sutadii - chikatetsu hikikomi kensetsu hantai undo" [Case Studies of Residents' Movements -- the Movement Against Subway Construction], Chiho jichi shokuin kenshu, no. 117 (September 1977), pp. 39-40.
2. Ritsuro Akimoto, "Senjika no toshi ni okeru chiiki jimin soshiki" [Local Residents' Organizations in the Cities during Wartime], Shakaigaku tokyu, vol. 18, no. 2 (February 1973), p. 81.
3. Ibid., p. 64.
4. Susumu Kurasawa, "Komyuniti i to jumin seikatsu" [Daily Life and the Community], Chiikikatsudo kenkyu, vol. 3, no. 2 (1970), p. 6.
5. Tokyo Shisei Chosakai (Tokyo Municipal Government Survey Council), Tokyo-shi chonaikai ni kansuru chosa [A Study of Chonaikai in the City of Tokyo 1927 p. 2 9.
6. Ibid., p. 286. This survey brought responses from 308 chonaikai or 26.4 per cent of the 1167 then existing.
7. Tokyo Shiyakusho (Tokyo City Office), Tokyo-shi chonaikai no chosa [A Study of Chonaikai in Tokyo] (March 1934), pp. 1-13.
8. Shinagawa Machiyakuba (Shinagawa Town Office) (ed.), Shinagawa-cho-shi.[The History of Shinagawa Town] (September 19-3-27-, p. 211.
9. Tokyo Shiyakusho, Chonaikai no chosa, p. 1.
10. Kojiro Hiraide, Tokyo fuzoku-shi, jo no maki [A History of Customs and Manners in Tokyo, vol. 1] (first issued in 1898 and reissued in three volumes in 1975), p. 27.
11. Tokyo Shitaya Kuyakusho (Sh i taya Ward Office) (ed.), Shitaya-ku-shi [The History of Shitaya Ward] (1935), p. 1087.
12. Tokyo hyakunen-shi [Tokyo's Century], vol. 1, p. 1100.
13. Referred to in Shinzo Takayanagi and Ryosuke Ishii (eds.), Ofuredaki Kanpo shusei [A Collection of Official Noticeboards of the Kampo Era (1941-4T)] (Iwanami Shoten, 1934), p. 1681.
14. Tokyo-shi Asakusa Kuyakusho (Asakusa Ward Office) (ed.), Asakusa-ku-shi , jokan [A History of Asakusa Ward, vol. 1 ] (Bunkaido Shoten, 1914), p. 86.
15. Nihonbashi Kuyakusho (Nihonbashi Ward Office) (ed.), Shinshu Nihonbashi-ku-shi, ge [The New History of Nihonbashi Ward, vol. 2] 1937 , p. 1.
16. This is suggested by the following quote in Yutaka Tezuka and Mitsuo Mori (eds.), Minji kanreiruishi [A Collection of Studies on Customs of Civic Affairs Society for the Study of Law, Keio Gijuku University, 11969), p. 17: "When a new baby is born, the landlord of the household (who rents the land and house) is notified; he in turn tells the head of the village. A new baby's birth is then recorded in the census register."
17. Keizo Shibusawa (ed.), Meiji bunka-shi, jOni-kan: seikatsu-hen [A Cultural History of the Meiji Period, vol. 12: Daily Life]-(1955), p. 680.
18. Ibid., p. 681.
19. Ibid., p. 687.
20. Hiraide, Tokyo fuzoku-shi, p. 28.
21. Tokyo Sh i yakusho, Chonaikai no chosa, pp. 1-4.
22. Ibid., p. 13.
23. Hiraide, Tokyo fuzoku-shi, p. 27.
24. Kyobashi Kuyakusho (Kyobash i Ward Office), Kyobashi-ku-shi, gekan [The History of Kyobashi Ward, vol. 2] (1942 , p. 284.
25. Hiraide, Tokyo fizoku-shi, pp. 77-78. It was apparently quite common for young people to carry portable shrines into private homes in order to bless them, a fact also referred to in the Tokyo Shisei Chosakai, Chonaikai ni kansuru chosa, pp. 98-99.
26. Kyobash i Kuyakusho, Kyobash i -ku-shi , p. 284.
27. Ibid., p. 285.
28. Tokyo Shiyakusho, Chonaikai no chosa, p. 7.
29. Nihonbashi Kuyakusho, Nihonbashi-ku-shi., p. 17.
30. Tokyo Shiyakusho, Chonaikai no chosa, pp. 5-6.
31. Nihonbashi Kuyakusho, Nihonbashi-ku-shi, pp. 176-185.
32. Perhaps for this reason, according to the survey carried out in 1935 in Shiba Ward, of 124 town associations, 20 (16.1 per cent) indicated that their founding was motivated by needs in connection with festivals, a figure even higher than in the Tokyo City survey. Shiba Kuyakusho (Shiba Ward Office) (ed.), Shiba-ku-shi [The Shiba Journal] (1938), p. 611.
33. Tokyo Shiyakusho, Chonaikai no chosa,.p. 1.
34. Nihonbashi Ward published its history twice before World War II: the first is Nihonbashi-ku-shi [The History of Nihonbashi Ward], 4 volumes, published in 1926, and the second, Shinshu Nihonbashi-ku-shi [The New History of Nihonbashi Ward, New Edition , 2 volumes in 1937. A list of sanitation associations is included in the first.
35. Shitaya Kuyakusho (ed.), Shitaya-ku-shi, pp. 544-546.
36. Fukagawa Kuyakusho (Fukagawa Ward Office) (ed.), Fukagawa-ku-shi [The History of Fukagawa Ward] (1926), p. 580.
37. Ibid.
38. Honjo Kuyakusho (ed.), Honjo-ku-shi [The History of Honjo Ward] (1931), p. 238.
39. Tokyo Shiyakusho, Chonaikai no chosa, p. 7.
40. Honjo Kuyakusho, Honjo-ku-shi , p. 237.
41. Nihonbashiku, Shinshu Nihonbashi-ku-shi, pp. 176-185.
42. Arakawa Kuyakusho (Arakawa Ward Office) (ed.), Arakawa-ku-shi [The History of Arakawa Ward] (1936), p. 571.
43. Ibid., p. 574.
44. Koishikawa Kuyakusho (Koishikawa Ward Office) (ed.), Koishikawa-ku-shi [The History of Koishikawa] (1938), p. 793.
45. Tokyo-shi Shakai Kyoikuka (Tokyo City Civic Education Department), Chokai kiyaku yoryo [An Outline of Chokai Regulations] (1924), per.
46. From an opinion expressed in the Tokyo City survey. Tokyo Shiyakusho, Chonaikai no chosa, p. 107.
47. From an opinion expressed in the Itabashi-ku-shi. Ibid., p. 110.
48. Kaoru Nakamura, Kanda-ku-shi [The History of Kanda Ward] (1927) , pp. 94-95.
49. Ibid., p. 111.
50. Shibusawa, Meiji bunka-shi , p. 688.
51. Arakawa Kuyakusho, Arakawa-ku-shi, p. 576.
52. Seimei Ogasawara (ed.), Tokyo kaicho sanjushunen kinen - chokai jigyo gaikan [The 30th Anniversary of the Opening of Tokyo Government: An Outline of the Workings of Town Associations] (1928), p. 52.
53. Nakamura, Kanda-ku-shi, p. 61.
54. Ibid., p. 77.
55. Shitaya Kuyakusho, Shitaya-ku-shi, p. 1088.
56. Ibid., pp. 1088-1089.
57. Nihonbashi Kuyakusho, Shinshu Nihonbashi-ku-shi, p. 175.
58. Koishikawa Kuyakusho, Koishikawa-ku-shi, p. 793.
59. Nakamura, Kanda-ku-shi ; Ogasawara, Chokai jigyo gaikan; and Nihon-bashi Kuyakusho, Shinshu Nihonbashi-ku-shi, pp 175-85 are a few of many references which suggest that many chonaikai were reorganized after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.
60. In an introductory essay "Chokai to jichisei" [Chokai and the System of Self-government] to the above-mentioned Tokyo City Civic. Education Department report (c.f. note 45) Shigeto Hozumi provides a vivid description of the founding of a chokai in his own community, Minami-cho in Ushigome Ward. The newly-founded association had no background in any earlier type of organization,
nor was there any tradition of community interaction, but, like many others, it was created as a result of the Great Kanto Earthquake:

. . . As an example, although admittedly a rather unusual one, I should like to describe the case of Minami-cho in Ushigome Ward where I reside. Minami-cho is a small town containing some 85 families, most of whom have been in the area for a long time. Despite the fact that most of the residents have lived here continuously for generations, organized communal activity was practically unknown. While the situation might be different if there were a well-developed commercial section of the town (there is but one rice dealer and a laundry shop), the vast majority of residents are working people who leave early in the morning and return late at night. Their homes are little more than places to sleep. Far from being on friendly terms with the people in the houses directly adjacent, [before the Great Kanto Earthquake] we did not even know their names. Not knowing eachother from total strangers in the community, neighbours who met in the street in the morning or evening would not even stop to exchange greetings. In short, there was no feeling among the residents of belonging to a community.

This is how it was when the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 struck. The quake at last shook the residents of Minami-cho out of their isolated habitations and into the streets where they greeted those they chanced to meet with concern and asked after e ach other's safety. Slowly a sense of solidarity began to grow among members of the neighbourhood. There were worries about fire and concern about security at night as well as problems involved in rood rationing, and as the residents worked out who would take turns each night to take the cart to pick up ration rice at the ward office or perform other jobs, somehow we achieved agreement, assigned jobs and collected money as necessary. In the process, a sense of community feeling at long last began to emerge. Later, when rationing was ended and the night watch was no longer necessary, we were perfectly free to return to the mutually disconnected life of a "bed town." Yet we all began to wonder why it was that we had been so indifferent to each other for so long. Realizing that the earthquake disaster had brought us an unexpected gift in our new-found community feeling, we decided to make our association permanent. A town residents' council was convened, by laws decided upon and officers elected, and the Minami-cho Self-government Association was established. At first its activities were confined to warning residents to be careful of fire and looking after affairs related to public health, but later there were suggestions that the association under-take a wider variety of culturally-related activities. These included lectures and classes which became known as the "community college" and a variety of other activities on a regular basis. It's a good feeling now to be met with a cheerful greeting by other members of the community.

61. Tokyo Shiyakusho, Chonaikai no chosa, p. 104.
62. Shinagawa Machiyakuba, Shinagawa-oho-shi, p. 210.
63. Tokyo Shiyaksuho, Chonaikai no chasa, p. 110.
64. Nakamura, Kanda-ku-shi, p. 68.
65. Nihonbashi Kuyakusho, Shinshu Nihonbashi-ku-shi, p. 176.
66. Tokyo-shi Shakai Kyoikuka, Chokai kiyaku yoryo , p. 6.
67. Nakamura, Kanda-ku-shi, p. 103.
68. Tokyo Shiyakusho, Chonaikai no chosa, p. 3.
69. Nakamura, Kanda-ku-shi, pp. 85-87.
70. Ibid., p. 84.
71. Tokyo Shiaykusho, Chonaikai no chosa, p. 2.
72. Ibid., p. 9; Nakamura, Kanda-ku-shi, p. 76.
73. Tokyo-shi Shakai Kyoikuka, Chokai kiyaku yoryo, pp. 114-15.
74. Ibid.
75. Tokyo Shisei Chosakai, Chonaikai kansuru chase, pp. 31-60.
76. Tokyo Shiya kusho, Chonaikai no chase, pp. 42-48.
77. Ibid., p. 42.
78. The figures for 1924 are taken from the Tokyo Municipal Government Survey Council Study on Chonaikai in the City of Tokyo and those for 1933 from the Tokyo City Office Survey of Chonaikai in Tokyo. Both figures included the "balance brought'forward to the next year in the 100 per cent total. There was a considerable disparity in the figures shown for 1924 (26.4 per cent) and 1933 (13.1 per cent) and since this appeared to affect the percentages for the other items, I compiled Table 5 without including the funds carried over. The table shows almost identical percentages for both festivals and administration for both years, showing that this kind of adjustment assures more accurate figures. It should be pointed out that the figures for 1924 may not be considered representative since they were compiled from only eight chonaikai which used funds according to a prescribed budgetary breakdown of items. Therefore, Table 5 should be viewed as only a general indicator of the tendencies in chonaikai spending.
79. Tokyo Shiyakusho, Chonaikai no chosa, p. 38.
80. Ibid., pp. 93-94.
81. Suejiro Yoshikawa, "Tokyo-shi chonaikai muyo-ron" [The Uselessness of Chonaikai in the City of Tokyo], Toshi mondai, vol. 2, no. 6 (June 1926), p. 28.
82. Ibid., pp. 27-47.
83. Hiroshi Kakegawa, "Toshi ni okeru jichi no tettei to chonaikai"
[Chonaikai and the Permeation of Self-Government in the City], Toshi mondai, vol. 14, no. 3 (March 1932), pp. 95-103.
84. Noboru Tanigawa, "Toshi ni okeru chonaikai seido no seibi, ge" [The Institutionalization of the Chonaikai System in the Cities], Toshi mondai, vol. 24, no. 3 (March 1938), p. 58.
85. Ibid., p. 57.
86. Ibid., p. 58.
87. Ibid., p. 60.
88. Shotaro Adachi, "Tokyo shinkukaigi in to chokai to no kankei" [The Relation of Tokyo Ward Assemblymen to the Chonai], Toshi mondai, vol. 2, no. 4 (April 1926), pp. 131-134.
89. Kiichi Inoma, "Tokyo shinkukaigiin no senkyo heigaikan" [A Sceptical View of Elections for Ward Assemblymen], Toshi mondai, vol. 2, no. 3 (March 1926), pp. 77-78.
90. Tokyo Shisei Chosakai, Chonaikai ni kansuru chosa, pp. 48-519 Tokyo Shisei Kakushin Shinbun Dome i The Alliance of Newspapers for the Reform of Tokyo Municipal Government), "Tokyo no chonai" [Town Associations in Tokyo], Shisei kakushin panfuretto, no. 2 (1938), pp. 43-47.
91. The Tokyo Shisei Chosakai , Chonaikai n i kansuru chosa (pp. 130-48), states that the "intellectual class" or "salaried class," that is, "elementary school teachers and newspaper reporters," "government clerks, bank clerks and company employees" and "officials of the prefecture or city" are uncooperative and indifferent to the affairs of chonaikai.
92. Shoichi Saito, "Tokyo-shi chonaikai ni okeru eisei jigyo to sono kindaika" [Sanitation-Related Activities of Tokyo Chonaikai and Their Modernization], Toshi no hoken-shisetsu (The Report of the Fifth General Assembly of the National Council on Urban Problems, 1936), pp. 209-218.