The Japanese Consumer: An Alternative Economic History of Modern Japan

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-11-16
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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By the late twentieth century, Japanese people were renowned as the world's most avid and knowledgeable consumers of fashion, luxury and quality, while the goods that embodied their tastes and lifestyle were becoming a part of global culture. Penelope Francks' book offers an alternative account of Japan's modern economic history from the perspective of the consumer. Tracing Japan's economy from the eighteenth century to the present, she shows how history has conditioned what Japanese people consume and compares their experiences with those of Europe and North America. In so doing the author presents a lucid and informed account of everyday life in Japan, exploring what people eat, how they dress, the household goods they acquire, and their preferred shopping and leisure activities. This beautifully illustrated book succeeds in making economic history palatable and entertaining. It will be a treat for students and all those interested in Japanese society and culture.

Author Biography

Penelope Francks is an Honorary Lecturer in Japanese Studies in the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Leeds. Her recent publications include Rural Economic Development Japan (2006).

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsp. vii
List of tablesp. ix
Acknowledgementsp. x
Notes on the textp. xi
Mapp. xii
Japan and the history of consumptionp. 1
Shopping in the city: urban life and the emergence of the consumer in Tokugawa Japanp. 11
The great cities as centres of consumptionp. 12
Consumption and everyday life in the citiesp. 27
Goods, the state and societyp. 40
Country gentlemen, ordinary consumption and the development of the rural economyp. 47
The rural elite and consumptionp. 48
Everyday consumption in the countrysidep. 54
Consumption and 'rural-centred' economic growthp. 66
Civilising goods': consumption in the industrialising worldp. 74
Newspapers, trains and electricity: the birth of the modern infrastructure of consumptionp. 76
'Civilising grain': food and drink in the emerging urban industrial worldp. 87
Clothes and household goods: fashion, novelty and changing traditionp. 97
Consumer goods and the path of economic developmentp. 102
Living with modernity: the emerging consumer of the inter-war yearsp. 108
Cities, suburbs and shoppingp. 109
Everyday life in the modern worldp. 123
Attitudes to modern consumptionp. 136
The electrical household: consumption, and the economic miraclep. 145
From war and occupation to economic miracle: state, society and mass consumptionp. 146
Consuming the bright lifep. 163
Consuming and saving: the individual and societyp. 176
New tribes and nostalgia: consumption in the late twentieth century and beyondp. 183
Shopping in the city, late twentieth-century stylep. 184
Consumption in practice in the post-miracle yearsp. 193
The ambivalent consumerp. 207
The Japanese consumer past and presentp. 218
Statistical appendixp. 223
List of referencesp. 231
Indexp. 242
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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