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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 Aestheticization of Everyday Life

The Aestheticization of Everyday Life

Inventing the Modern Memory of Edo

(p.121) Chapter 3 The Aestheticization of Everyday Life
Gender and Nation in Meiji Japan

Jason G. Karlin

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how the revival of a particular past centered on the tastes of the Edo period was expressed through the aestheticization of the culture of everyday life. It first considers how the values of loyalism and honor were put to the test in the early Meiji period following the collapse of the shogunate in 1867. It then explores how rapid changes in the early Meiji era generated disillusionments that gave rise to feelings of dislocation and nostalgia, as shown by the artist Kobayashi Kiyochika in his landscape prints of Tokyo. It also discusses the tricentennial celebration of the founding of Edo in 1889 and the commercialization of tradition through the consumption of the fashions and styles of the Genroku era during the late Meiji period. The chapter argues that nostalgia for Genroku-era tastes in the form of female bodies adorned in Genroku-style fashions was an expression of the eroticization of the past.

Keywords:   loyalism, Edo, aestheticization, everyday life, Meiji period, nostalgia, Kobayashi Kiyochika, fashion, Genroku era, eroticization

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