Introductory section.- Civil Society in Japan: Democracy, Voluntary Action, and Philanthropy.- Social Frameworks for Civil Society in Japan: In Search for a Japanese Model.- Established forms of engagement.- The Rising Voice of Japan's Community Unions.- Collaborative Environmentalism in Japan.- A New Epoch of Immigration for Japan: Directional Shift in Civic Organizational Support for Newcomer Settlement.- Engagement outside the mainstream.- Civic Engagement and Community Development Among Japan's Burakumin.- "I'm Deaf. This is Sign. Get Used to It." Sign Language in Japan: The Vision and the Struggle.- Media and Civic Engagement in Japan.- Emerging forms of engagement.- The Soft Advocacy of Music Fandom: Japanese Youth and the Building of Civic Infrastructures of the Mind.- Re-imagining the Relationship Between Japan and Korea: Popular Culture and Civic Engagement.- Fun with Consumers: Enjoying Anticonsumerism in Japan.- Concluding section.- Conclusions: From Politicization to Culturalization of Civic Engagement.- Epilogue: Toward a New Legal Form for Civic Engagement.
Civic engagement is a concept of action that has become part of common vocabulary, not only in the West but also in many other regions of the world as well. A growing, yet still small number of scholarly works has recently emerged showing how in Japan citizen activism, volunteering, and social action for a public cause are dev- oping. This present volume is another, and in my view, important addition to the body of knowledge on civic engagement in Japan. The majority of books on related issues in Japan take on the perspective of organized civic life, in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) or nonprofit organizations (NPOs): we know quite a number of things about the quantitative trends in these organizations, on their positioning, on their difficulties, and on the institutional contexts in which they have to work. We know relatively little - except for a small number of topical qualitative case studies - on broad issues that relate to civic engagement in Japan, inside or outside these formal organizations. This volume is the first to offer a wide scope of broad variety of forms of civic engagement in contemporary Japan. The volume is quite forceful in counterbalancing oversimplified ideas on an "ideal" civil society in which state, market, and civil society organizations are in- pendent and at best take on oppositional stances.