What ties bound region to center in the making of the modern Japanese state? What forces shaped these bonds? How did the local–center relationship change over time? What is its current legacy?
Focusing on the marginal region of Toyama, on the Sea of Japan, the author explores the interplay of central and regional authorities, local and national perceptions of rights, and the emerging political practices in Toyama and Tokyo that became part of the new political culture that took shape in Japan following the Meiji Restoration. Michael Lewis argues that in response to the demands of the centralizing state, local elites and leaders in Toyama developed a repertoire of supple responses that varied with the political or economic issue at stake.