Eleventh Emeritus Faculty Lecture
Honoring George DeVos

Life in Arakawa: Past into Present

Photos 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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"Company presidents" are ever mindful of their status. Here a small-scale entrepreneur, dressed appropriate to his role, helps one of his four employees box pencils. His "company" is part of a chain of subcontractors, who might go bankrupt with a shift in demand for the particular pencils being produced.
The oden cart is being readied for the evening. Nocturnally carts travel neighborhoods or are stationed at convenient spots in the entertainment districts. Arakawa is the home of many of these vendors, who with their entrepreneurial districts inhabit hovels located in the ward. Here a noodle vendor lives under the tracks of a commuting train.
To compete in productivity family entrepreneurs work long hours to maximize the possible profits by utilizing their machines. Here a man and wife work late at night producing pencils in their house-factory.
Manufacturing slippers inside a house factory. Arakawa was one of the first areas to produce modern clothes. Large mills were established on the banks of the river. Small house-factories became subcontractors in the shoes industry.
There is stoic continuity written in the faces of all generations.

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