Another Phase

It has been 5 weeks since I started my research in Tokyo. After writing my last post I went into a new phase in which I was obsessed with reading primary sources — mainly old books, journal articles, and official publications. After reading a bunch of materials on the peasant problems in colonial Taiwan and Korea, I went back to another bunch of secondary materials in three languages to figure out how I should and should not read these primary sources. Now I am in a good cycle of going back and forth between these two regarding one theme. I have just started reading about Miyagi on the same theme — peasant problems and the development of the agricultural industry. Having a theme keeps my research more coherent (ok, this is obvious) and gives me a sense of when I should move onto another set of materials. I tend to change my research plan every week but for now I thought about the themes that I want to cover — 1. rural peasants (movements, unions, landlords etc) = work in progress, 2. agrarian ideology, 3. local education (language education, school, hotokukai), 4. local policing (including soldier recruitment), 5. self-governance (jichi) movements, 6. postwar transformation.

A few complaints:

  • Why is it so difficult to get a copy of recent dissertations in Japan? I have to go to each college to get a copy of their alumi’s dissertations or request at the National Diet Library from their Kansai branch. Why such a hassle??
  • I do not understand why the university libraries with xerox machines available for self-use do not allow students to take photos of the books in the same libraries. It is basically the same “copy-rights” issue involved, but one wastes a lot more paper and money than the other. Some libraries set up scanners and photo-taking booths (like in American colleges and national libraries in Taiwan and Korea) for that particular reason.
Category(s): Research

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