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BookforumIn the twenty-two years between the day the 1923 Kanto earthquake razed Tokyo and the months in which American bombers demolished it anew, modernity arrived in Japan. Ushered in by the creeping popularity of Western fashions, the rise of mass communication and transit, and the Europeanizing of urban public life, the "brittle years" of the early 1930s marked an uneasy encounter between Japanese traditionalism and Western cosmopolitanism, and nowhere did the attendant anxieties play out more than in the 'modan garu' -- Japan's "modern girl." The equivalent of the '20s-era-flapper, 'modan garus' dressed like New Yorkers and smoked like Parisians; they held jobs, slept around (precipitating a decline in geisha services), and rebuffed the "good wife, wise mother" role that Japanese women had long been expected to play.
— Jessica Loudis