Gender and Nation in Meiji Japan: Modernity, Loss, and the Doing of History

Gender and Nation in Meiji Japan: Modernity, Loss, and the Doing of History

by Jason G. Karlin


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Gender and Nation in Meiji Japan: Modernity, Loss, and the Doing of History by Jason G. Karlin

Gender and Nation in Meiji Japan is a historical analysis of the discourses of nostalgia in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Japan. Through an analysis of the experience of rapid social change in Japan's modernization, it argues that fads (ryuko) and the desires they express are central to understanding Japanese modernity, conceptions of gender, and discourses of nationalism. In doing so, the author uncovers the myth of eternal return that lurks below the surface of Japanese history as an expression of the desire to find meaning amid the chaos and alienation of modern times. This book examines the intellectual, social, and cultural factors that contributed to the rapid spread of Western tastes and styles, along with the backlash against Westernization that was expressed as a longing for the past. By focusing on the expressions of these desires in popular culture and media texts, it reveals how the conflation of mother, countryside, everyday life, and history structured representations to naturalize ideologies of gender and nationalism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780824838263
Publisher: University of Hawaii Press, The
Publication date: 05/31/2014
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Preface 1

Introduction Nationalism, Everyday Life, and the Myth of Eternal Return

Chapter 1 Competing Masculinities in Meiji Japan 19

Clothes Make the Man

Caricaturing the State

The Vice of Frivolity and Extravagance

Authenticating Masculinity

Neckties and High Collars

Barbarism, Adventure, and Imperialism

Fashioning Civilization

Chapter 2 The Mythos of Masculinization: Narratives of Heroism and Historical Identity 72

The Hero as the Agent of Order

Adventure Novels, Heroes, and Imperialism

Torture the Women!

From Boys to Men

Oshikawa Shunro and the Creation of Hypermasculine Heroes

Iconic Heroes in History

Nationalism, Vigilante Justice, and the Politics of Direct Action

Chapter 3 The Aestheticization of Everyday Life: Inventing the Modern Memory of Edo 121

The Measure of Loyalty

The Memory of Righteous Resistance and the Ghosts of Edo

Kobayashi Kiyochika in the Autumn of Edo

Narrating the History of Edo

The Tricentennial Celebration of Tokyo

History amid the Ruins

The Genroku Boom and the Commercialization of Edo

The Eroticization of the Past

The Culture of Everyday Life

Chapter 4 The Lure of the Modern! Imagining the Temporal Spaces of City and Countryside 177

Mass Culture, Moral Panic, and Nostalgia

The Rural Exodus

Degenerate Schoolgirls and the Awakening of Female Desire

The Monstrous City

The Light of the Home

Yanagita Kunio, Fads, and the Homogenization of Tastes

Conclusion Oedipus in Chains: Eternal Return and the Memory of the Epic Past 235

Notes 241

Bibliography 283

Index 303

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