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Erotic grotesque nonsense : the mass culture of Japanese by Miriam Silverberg

By Miriam Silverberg

This historical past of jap mass tradition throughout the many years previous Pearl Harbor argues that the recent gestures, courting, and humor of ero-guro-nansensu (erotic gruesome nonsense) expressed a self-consciously sleek ethos that challenged nation ideology and expansionism. Miriam Silverberg makes use of resources equivalent to motion picture magazines, ethnographies of the homeless, and the main recognized pictures from this period to seize the spirit, textures, and language of a time while the media reached all sessions, connecting the agricultural social order to city mores. utilising the concept that of montage as a metaphor that proficient the association of eastern mass tradition through the Twenties and Thirties, Silverberg demanding situations the erasure of jap colonialism and its legacies. She inspires shiny photographs from lifestyle in the course of the Nineteen Twenties and Nineteen Thirties, together with information about meals, housing, model, modes of renowned leisure, and attitudes towards sexuality. Her cutting edge research demonstrates how new public areas, new relationships in the relations, and an ironic sensibility expressed the angle of eastern shoppers who pointed out with the trendy as offering a sophisticated holiday from culture while that they mobilized for war.

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It is clear that the mass-produced material culture of housing and clothing, newspapers, books, magazines, movies, records, and spectacles (including nightlife), state ideology, and policy presumed and produced a consumer-subject; all were intricately interconnected. After World War I, both consumption and production were rationalized, as department stores offered household goods, clothing, and “mass cafeterias” that became sites of new family leisure activity. By 1919, the major emporiums of Shirokiya, Matsuya, Takashimaya, and Sogō were catering to urban customers and provincial gawkers; they were followed by Marubutsu and Daimaru in 1920 and Isetan in 1922.

The earthquake of 1923 signified a break with the past and with traditions, including those created by the modern state. Officially, time might be measured in terms of imperial reigns, but numerous documents attest that people divided their lives into pre- and post-earthquake segments. I do not, however, see in Japanese modern culture the other Baudelairean concept discussed by Harvey: an eternal notion of humankind. Of course, official ideology, encapsulated in the “Imperial Rescript on Education” that yoked the Japanese subject to empire through family and ancestry, was premised on the idea of a timeless, seamless filial piety.

Advertisement for fountain pen 10. The Lady Beauty Shop 11. Modern Girl in café 12. Abe Sada after arrest, May 20, 1936 THE CAFÉ WAITRESS SANG THE BLUES 13. The Salon Manchuria 14. Foot motions of the café waitress 15. Clothing of café waitresses on Ginza FROM ERO TO EMPIRE 16. Women’s section at a movie theater, 1931 17. Magazine spread showing Shirley Temple, 1936 18. Advertisement for Kunisada Chūji 19. Cartoon for Mickey Mouse’s seventh birthday THE HOUSEHOLD BECOMES MODERN LIFE 20. “How to Make a Sandwich,” 1932 21.

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