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Title: A Man at Twenty, Aged at Twenty-Five: The Conscription Exam Age in Japan
Authors: Chatani, Sayaka 
Issue Date: 1-Apr-2020
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
Citation: Chatani, Sayaka (2020-04-01). A Man at Twenty, Aged at Twenty-Five: The Conscription Exam Age in Japan. The American Historical Review 125 (2) : 427-437. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Abstract In the early 1870s, when the Meiji Japanese government introduced the universal army conscription system, the age at which the conscription exam was administered, set at twenty, became a critical moment in people’s lives. Although the Japanese army itself has gained much scholarly attention, the arbitrariness of its age stipulation directs us to an underexplored yet critical intersection between society and the state. Age twenty reprogrammed the rhythms of rural farming life and redefined the meanings of masculinity and adulthood for people far beyond those actually drafted into the army. Politicians and youth themselves linked this calendar age to the future of Japan’s liberal democracy and the autonomous space free of bureaucratic intervention. The history of age twenty, which was all about translating fuzzy life stages into acutely clear calendar ages, reveals a moment in which people attempted to turn a cultural and discursive power into a form of authoritative power that lay beyond negotiation, even vis-à-vis the government itself.
Source Title: The American Historical Review
ISSN: 0002-8762
DOI: 10.1093/ahr/rhaa168
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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