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Distributed for Reaktion Books

Image Factory

Fads and Fashions in Japan

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.

Distribution by the University of Chicago Press only to customers in the USA and Canada. Customers elsewhere should visit the UK website of Reaktion Books.


192 pages | 6.25 x 9.25

Asian Studies: East Asia

Culture Studies

Economics and Business: Business--Industry and Labor


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Table of Contents

Foreword
The Image Industry
Fashion’s Tongues
Kawaii - Kingdom of the Cute
The Sex Bazaar
Leisure Options
Manga Culture
Pachinko
The Convenience Phone
Kosupure
Fake Foreigners
Afterword
Sources

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