The Silk Weavers of Kyoto: Family and Work in a Changing Traditional Industry

Overview

The makers of obi, the elegant and costly sash worn over kimono in Japan, belong to an endangered species. These families of manufacturers, weavers, and other craftspeople centered in the Nishijin weaving district of Kyoto have practiced their demanding craft for generations. In recent decades, however, as a result of declining markets for kimono, they find their livelihood and pride harder to sustain. This book is a poignant exploration of a vanishing world. Tamara Hareven integrates historical research with ...
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Overview

The makers of obi, the elegant and costly sash worn over kimono in Japan, belong to an endangered species. These families of manufacturers, weavers, and other craftspeople centered in the Nishijin weaving district of Kyoto have practiced their demanding craft for generations. In recent decades, however, as a result of declining markets for kimono, they find their livelihood and pride harder to sustain. This book is a poignant exploration of a vanishing world. Tamara Hareven integrates historical research with intensive life history interviews to reveal the relationships among family, work, and community in this highly specialized occupation.

Hareven uses her knowledge of textile workers' lives in the United States and Western Europe to show how striking similarities in weavers' experiences transcend cultural differences. These very rich personal testimonies, taken over a decade and a half, provide insight into how these men and women have juggled family and work roles and coped with insecurities. Readers can learn firsthand how weavers perceive their craft and how they interpret their lives and view the world around them. With rare immediacy, The Silk Weavers of Kyoto captures a way of life that is rapidly disappearing.

Author Biography: Tamara K. Hareven is Unidel Professor of Family Studies and History at the University of Delaware. She is founder and co-editor of The History of the Family: an International Quaterly, and her earlier books include Families, History, and Social Change (2000), Family Time and Industrial Time (1982; 1993), and the groundbreaking Amoskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory City (1978; 1995).

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Editorial Reviews

Kiyomi Morioka
Hareven vividly andpersuasively describes the family-based silk weaving industry in Kyoto, which has been in the process of change since the end of the nineteenth century. She throws light on the innermost layer of Japanese human relations and therefore the Japanese way of feeling, thinking and evaluation, to an extent that few existing Japanese studies have attained.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520228184
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 1/15/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 371
  • Sales rank: 1,344,674
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Tamara K. Hareven (1937-2002) was Unidel Professor of Family Studies and History at the University of Delaware. She was founder and co-editor of The History of the Family: an
International Quarterly,
and her earlier books include Families, History, and Social Change (2000), Family Time and
Industrial Time
(1982; 1993), and the groundbreaking Amoskeag: Life and Work in an American Factory City (1978; 1995).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations and Tables
Preface
Acknowledgments
Pt. 1 Family, Work, and the Division of Labor in Nishijin: A Historical Analysis 1
1 From Amoskeag to Nishijin 3
2 A World within a World 25
3 Family Business, Cottage Industry 51
4 Family Work in Household Production 69
5 The Mentality and Identity of the Nishijin Craftspeople 85
Pt. 2 The Nishijin People's Own Stories 105
Mr. Yamaguchi: Manufacturer and Creator of The Tale of Genji on Handwoven Scrolls 107
Mrs. Shibagaki: Artistic Handloom Weaver 121
Mrs. Fuwa: Artistic Handloom Weaver 129
Mrs. Fujiwara, Mr. Fujiwara, and Mr. Nishitani: Handloom Weavers 136
Mr. and Mrs. Konishi: Handloom Weavers 176
Mr. and Mrs. Shibagaki: Two Generations of Handloom Weavers 219
Mr. and Mrs. Sakurai: Handloom Weavers 239
Mrs. Yasuda: Manufacturer's Widow and Manufacturer's Mother. Mr. Yasuda: Manufacturer, Manufacturer's Son, and Manufacturer's Father 250
Mrs. Maizuru Michiko: Manufacturer's Daughter, Manufacturer's Widow, Manufacturer's Mother 264
Mr. Hiraoka: Production Manager at the Nishijin Maizuru Textile Company 273
Mr. Koyama: Weavers' Assistant in a Factory 277
Mr. Aioi: Warper 281
Mrs. Uebayashi: Cottage Weaver on the Tango Peninsula on the Japan Sea 286
Mr. and Mrs. Nagahama: Cottage Weavers of Wedding Kimono on the Tango Peninsula 295
Conclusion: The Nishijin Experience in Comparative Perspective 303
App The Subjective Reconstruction of Life History 313
Glossary of Japanese Words 319
Bibliography 329
Index 333
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