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Consuming Life in Post-Bubble Japan: A Transdisciplinary Perspective

Katarzyna J. Cwiertka, and
Ewa Machotka

978 94 6298 063 1
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Publication date:
14 February 2018

Short description: 

This multidisciplinary book analyses the contradictory coexistence of consumerism and environmentalism in contemporary Japan.

Full description: 

This book explores the transformation of everyday life in Japan since the bursting of the economic bubble in the early 1990s. Using the focus of ‘consumption’ – from the mundane practices of shopping to eco-art – the volume pins down the contradictions and challenges brought about by the recession and the rise of an environmental consciousness. Between the 1960s and the 1980s, Japan experienced an uninterrupted, high economic growth. Consumption, with its sets of practices and its associated ideology of consumerism, evolved during this period to become the central experience in the everyday life of the Japanese people. The bursting of the economic bubble in the 1990s shook the very foundation of the postwar economic ‘miracle’ and marked the beginning of a gradual shift in the environmental consciousness. Yet, it by no means removed consumption from the pivotal position it occupies within Japanese society.

Table of contents: 

Acknowledgements[-]Notes to the Reader[-]Notes on Contributors[-]List of Figures[-]List of Tables[-][-]Introduction - Katarzyna J. Cwiertka and Ewa Machotka[-]Consumption[-]Sustainability[-]The post-bubble era and research on consumption[-]Konbini, landscape, and sustainable art[-]Works cited[-][-]Chapter 1: Post-Bubble Japanese Department Stores: The Need to Search for New Paradigms - Hendrik Meyer-Ohle[-]Abstract[-]Introduction[-]Department stores in Japan[-]Educating customers: Is my diamond the right size? Am I wearing the right dress?[-]Developing new customer groups: Fashioning the salary man and husband - Imagining the old and the new Japan[-]Mangoes on Marine Day: Post-bubble department stores[-]Works cited[-]Websites consulted[-][-]Chapter 2: Consumption of Fast Fashion in Japan: Local Brands and Global Environment - Stephanie Assmann[-]Abstract[-]Introduction[-]Background: Social stratification and consumer behaviour [-]Declining incomes and consumer expenditures[-]Fast Retailing: The outdoor brand UNIQLO[-]Ryohin Keikaku: The label without a label - Mujirushi Ryohin [-]Fast fashion and sustainability[-]International competitors: ZARA and H&M[-]A high-end fashion retailer: Louis Vuitton[-]The significance of price, brand, quality, and sustainability: The post-bubble consumer[-]Works cited[-]Company websites[-][-]Chapter 3: Konbini-Nation: The Rise of the Convenience Store in Post-Industrial Japan - Gavin H. Whitelaw[-]Abstract[-]Introduction[-]Coming of age with konbini[-]Relocalizing konbini[-]Convenience becoming 'konbini'[-]Shifting perceptions[-]Konbini panics and convenience concerns[-]'Konbinize Me': Waste and want [-]'Between' places[-]Conclusion [-]Works cited[-][-]Chapter 4: Serving the Nation: The Myth of Washoku - Katarzyna J. Cwiertka[-]Abstract[-]Introduction[-]What's in a name?[-]The UNESCO nomination[-]National branding and food self-sufficiency[-]Conclusion[-]Works cited[-]Film cited[-]Websites consulted[-][-]Chapter 5: Consuming Domesticity in Post-Bubble Japan - Ofra Goldstein-Gidoni[-]Abstract[-]The Hanako tribe: Single women as hedonistic consumers[-]The production of new consuming tribes: Women's magazines at the burst of the bubbleThe new-type housewives as a post-bubble return to 'traditional' gender roles? [-]Female domesticity is fun: Marketing the joy of housewifery [-]Tradition in fashionable wear: Designer aprons as symbols of the new femininity[-]Female beauty and domesticity as a new kind of a national spirit[-]Conclusion ?[-]Works cited[-]Websites consulted[-][-]Chapter 6: The Metamorphosis of Excess: 'Rubbish Houses' and the Imagined Trajectory of Things in Post-Bubble Japan - Fabio Gygi[-]Abstract[-]Introduction[-]Attack of the rubbish aunt![-]Gomi yashiki as the uncanny[-]Consuming the bubble[-]The exaltedness of the new[-]Rendering absent[-]Secondhandedness and mottainai[-]'A complicated emotion': Taguchi's 'Jamira'[-]Conclusion[-]Works cited[-][-]Chapter 7: Robot Reincarnation: Rubbish, Artefacts, and Mortuary Rituals - Jennifer Robertson[-]Abstract[-]Rubbish, art, and artefacts[-]Robots and rubbish: Consumption and disposal[-]Robot reincarnation[-]Film cited[-]Works cited[-]Websites consulted[-][-]Chapter 8: Art and Consumption in Post-Bubble Japan: From Postmodern Irony to Shared Engagement - Gunhild Borggreen[-]Abstract[-]Introduction: Japan as consumer society[-]The artist as ethnographer[-]Representations of consumption[-]Art as consumption[-]Community-based consumption[-]Conclusion[-]Works cited [-]Websites consulted[-][-]Chapter 9: The Fate of Landscape in Post-War Japanese Art and Visual Culture - Hayashi Michio[-]Abstract[-]A.K.A. Serial Killer and the extinction of landscape[-]PROVOKE and the Discover Japan campaign[-]Lee U-fan's aesthetics: Phenomenology and structuralis


Katarzyna Cwiertka is professor of modern Japan Studies at Leiden University.

Ewa Machotka is associate professor of Japanese language and culture at Stockholm University.



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