Panel, Mining Grassroots Archives: The Japanese Experience, Association for Asian Studies Conference , Delhi, India, July 5-8, 2018
This panel focuses on collections of historical documents kept by mining communities in postwar and contemporary Japan. In mining towns, local
communities — including labourers, activists, teachers — often built their own collections of documents as challenges to the formal documents archived by
corporate mining interests. Local and private preservation efforts have facilitated regional histories in Japan. Such collections shaped the historical
imagination of local communities and non-elite actors played significant roles in their creation. In the case of the mining communities we examine,
grassroots archiving addressed both a lack of formal archives and also the fact that corporate interests could withhold key documents. While creating
their own collections, communities also learned how to appropriate the archives of formal record-keeping institutions.
Our four case studies center on questions about the creation of grassroots mining archives in Japan, how those archives enabled people to form their
own political strategies, and how those archives related to public record-keeping institutions.