Eleventh Emeritus Faculty Lecture
Honoring George DeVos

Life in Arakawa: Past into Present

Photographs from Heritage of Endurance: Family Patterns and Delinquency Formation in Urban Japan, written by Hiroshi Wagatsuma and George A. De Vos.

Photographs by Karel G. van Wolferen.

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Aging men in Arakawa often live partially in the past. Their function within the family has diminished. They are crowded off into corners by the pace of modern life.
A local shrine. Housewives still evoke the deities of a local Shinto shrine. These Kami watch over Arakawa but now share sacred space with commuting trains.
Play. People live and play outside as well as inside the tiny shack that are home to the Eddoko of Arakawa. Some fathers love to play with younger children when they are free to do so. 
The older "individual" hovels are giving way to several-storied danchi -- "modern" tiny concrete apartment cells with commercial establishments at the ground level.
Entering the alleys. From wider commercial streets one enters into a rabbit warren of narrow lanes, where the invisible networks of subcontracting house-factories are located. Pre-World War II American economists could not envision their considerable contribution to the Japanese war effort. Here the laundry is being raised on a bamboo pole.

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