Image Factory: Fads and Fashions in Japan / Edition 1

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Overview

Just as a person contrives a style, the purpose of which is integration and the effect of which is presentation, so a nation collectively projects an appearance, a "national" style. Such styles are made of many layers. The deepest layer is composed of the immutable and the traditional. Nearer the surface floats fashion, changeable but sometimes more abiding. And frothing on the surface is fad.

By definition a fad is novel and appears from outside. Fads must have instant appeal and do not have a long shelf life. In Japan, an assortment of islands, the outside is often the quality that defines the inside.

Japan has a history of chasing fads and fashion. Since the 19th century, foreign products have been welcomed in, from the cult for "squeaky shoes" in the mid-19th century to the current fad for virtual reality girlfriends. Japan’s mandate was that, having been opened late, it had to hurry to catch up. Fads provide both a social distraction and a sense of cohesion, indicating not only foreign importation but also native adaptation.

The Image Factory is both an investigation into fads, fashions and style – such as US Army surplus uniforms, "pachinko", mutating hair colors – and an appreciation of their inherent meanings. The Japanese have seized upon fads and fashion as an arm of enterprise to a much greater extent than elsewhere in the world. Ephemerality has been put to work, the transient has become industrialized, and the results are highly conspicuous.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861891532
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald Richie has lived in Tokyo for over 50 years. He is the author of many books, including the travel book The Inland Sea and Tokyo: A View of the City (Reaktion, 1999).

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Table of Contents

Foreword 7
The Image Industry 17
Fashion's Tongues 32
Kawaii - Kingdom of the Cute 53
The Sex Bazaar 63
Leisure Options 83
Manga Culture 101
Pachinko 110
The Convenience Phone 125
Kosupure 137
Fake Foreigners 151
Afterword 167
Sources 173
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