Cover: In Close Association: Local Activist Networks in the Making of Japanese Modernity, 1868–1920, from Harvard University PressCover: In Close Association in HARDCOVER

Harvard East Asian Monographs 453

In Close Association

Local Activist Networks in the Making of Japanese Modernity, 1868–1920

Add to Cart

Product Details


$39.95 • £31.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674278257

Publication Date: 07/12/2022


208 pages

6 x 9 inches

3 photos, 1 color photo, 1 color illus.

Harvard University Asia Center > Harvard East Asian Monographs


In Close Association is the first English-language study of the local networks of women and men who built modern Japan in the Meiji period (1868–1912). Marnie Anderson uncovers in vivid detail how a colorful group of Okayama-based activists founded institutions, engaged in the Freedom and People’s Rights Movement, promoted social reform, and advocated “civilization and enlightenment” while forging pathbreaking conceptions of self and society. Alongside them were Western Protestant missionaries, making this story at once a local history and a transnational one.

Placing gender analysis at its core, the book offers fresh perspectives on what women did beyond domestic boundaries, while showing men’s lives, too, were embedded in home and kin. Writing “history on the diagonal,” Anderson documents the gradual differentiation of public activity by gender in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Meiji-era associations became increasingly sex-specific, though networks remained heterosocial until the twentieth century.

Anderson attends to how the archival record shapes what historians can know about individual lives. She argues for the interdependence of women and men and the importance of highlighting connections between people to explain historical change. Above all, the study sheds new light on how local personalities together transformed Japan.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Marking the 75th Anniversary of Independence from British Rule

August 14 and August 15 mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of independence from British rule for Pakistan and India, respectively. Inextricably linked to the birth of these two South Asian nations is the 1947 Partition of the subcontinent that tragically accompanied the end of British colonialism.