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Emergency rice feeding by tonarigumi housewives

The Neighborhood Association (隣組 Tonarigumi) was the smallest unit of the national mobilization program established by the

  1. ^ Dear, The Oxford Companion to World War II
  2. ^ Pekkanan, Japan's dual civil society. Members without advocates
  3. ^ Cook, Japan at War: An Oral History
  4. ^ Dear, The Oxford Companion to World War II
  5. ^ Pharr, The State of Civil Society in Japan


  • Cook, Haruko Taya; Theodore F. Cook (1992). Japan at War: An Oral History. New York: The New Press. 
  • Dear, I.C.B.; M.R.D. Foot (2002). The Oxford Companion to World War II. Oxford University Press.  
  • Pekkanen, Robert (2006). Japan's Dual Civil Society. Members without advocates. Stanford University Press.  
  • Schwartz, Frank J;  


See also

Formally abolished in 1947 by the American occupation authorities, the system survives to a certain extent in the modern chonaikai, or jichikai which are nominally independent voluntary associations, but which retain a quasi-governmental status in that they have limited responsibility for local administration and coordination of activities such as neighborhood watch and disaster relief.[5]

Later in the Pacific War, the tonarigumi received basic military training to serve as observers for enemy planes over cities or suspicious boats on the coasts. In the final stages of war, it was intended that the tonarigumi form a secondary militia, in the case of enemy invasion. Some tonarigumi took part in combat in Manchukuo, northern Chōsen and Karafuto, in the closing days of the Pacific War.

Tonarigumi were also organized in territories occupied by Japan, including Manchukuo, Mengjiang, and the Wang Jingwei Government, and later in occupied territories of Southeast Asia (Such as the Indonesian RT/RW system) with the same purposes.[4]

The government also found the tonarigumi useful for the maintenance of public security. A network of informants was established linking every neighborhood association with the Tokkō Police to watch for possible infractions of national laws, and suspect political or immoral behavior. [3]

[2] Neighborhood mutual-aid associations existed in Japan since before the

History & Development


  • History & Development 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • Notes 4


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