Comments on Patterns of Life
Yanagita Kunio wrote the History of Modern Japan - Changing Signs of the Times in 1930, using no proper names and basing his history on the evidence of newspapers.94
Yanagita was a unique scholar. He was a moderate, who dismissed most of his so-called moderate contemporaries as reactionaries. He thus managed to avoid many of the misjudge ments of the prewar radical progressives and reactionaries and also the redirection which radicals, progressives and reactionaries underwent during the Fifteen Years’ War. Yanagita was one of the very few who did not lose sight of the cultural continuity between pre-Meiji and post-Meiji Japan. On the whole, Yanagita criticized the post-Meiji government from the point of view of the continuous cultural tradition, or folkways, of the Japanese people. A major challenge facing modern scholars is how to write a sequel to Yanagita’s History covering the period after 1955.