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Gender and Nation in Meiji JapanModernity, Loss, and the Doing of History$
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Jason G. Karlin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838263

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838263.001.0001

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The Lure of the Modern

The Lure of the Modern

Imagining the Temporal Spaces of City and Countryside

(p.177) Chapter 4 The Lure of the Modern
Gender and Nation in Meiji Japan

Jason G. Karlin

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the perceived temporal gap between the city and the countryside in Meiji Japan, signified by the lag in the spread of fashions (ryūkō). It first considers how the spread of mass culture triggered moral panic and nostalgia during the Meiji period before discussing the exodus of people from the periphery to the center. It then looks at the image of the “degenerate schoolgirl” appearing in media representations around the turn of the century as part of a broader discourse on the decline of public morals in student culture, citing the city as the alleged source of moral corruption and degeneration among schoolgirls—an alluring and dangerous place of desire. It also explores the proliferation of magazines, including women's magazines, that addressed the differences between the city and the countryside. Finally, it analyzes the ideas of the ethnographer Yanagita Kunio regarding fads and tastes.

Keywords:   city, countryside, fashion, mass culture, moral panic, nostalgia, degenerate schoolgirl, magazines, Yanagita Kunio, fads

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