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Social Protest in Imperial Japan
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The Tokyo Riot Graphic, September 18, 1905
Concluding Pages (pp. 28–37)



The back pages of the Tokyo Riot Graphic present this lengthy written account of the protest, written by the magazine’s publisher and co-editor, Yano Ryūkei, and interspersed with dramatic line drawings. The wide mass audience that the magazine targeted can be seen in the inclusion of phonetic syllables (furigana) next to every single ideograph, which made it possible for people with even rudimentary education to learn how the patriotic war with Russia had turned into a populist battle at home.

The essay deserves careful study in its own right. It offers a day-by-day (and night-by-night) narrative of specific encounters between rioters and police at numerous locations throughout the city. Yano is relatively dispassionate in his treatment of the crowd.




He uses a variety of terms for the participants, ranging from critical words such as “rioter” (bōmin) or “mob” (gunshū) to more neutral or positive terms such as “masses” (minshū) or “the people” (jinmin). He also makes a distinction between “rioters” and “bystanders” (kenbutsnin), with those in the latter category said to be more numerous. On occasion Yano criticizes the rioters, but on other occasions he writes that the police used excessive force, thus turning neutral “bystanders” into “new enemies.”
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