Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian HistoryMain MenuGet to Know the SiteGuided TourShow Me HowA click-by-click guide to using this siteModulesRead the seventeen spatial stories that make up Bodies and Structures 2.0Tag MapExplore conceptsComplete Grid VisualizationDiscover connectionsGeotagged MapFind materials by geographic locationLensesCreate your own visualizationsWhat We LearnedLearn how multivocal spatial history changed how we approach our researchAboutFind information about contributors and advisory board members, citing this site, image permissions and licensing, and site documentationTroubleshootingA guide to known issuesAcknowledgmentsThank youDavid Ambaras1337d6b66b25164b57abc529e56445d238145277Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fThis project was made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
12020-04-30T18:05:57-04:00Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5f352Yodoko Guest House (Yamamura House) in Ashiya, Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan; designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.plain2020-09-17T00:59:39-04:0034.72694, 135.30416Ashiya.2008.Wikimedia Commons.2008.663highland.Public domain.Noriko AsoYamamura house designed by Wright, Frank Lloyd.image/jpegNA-0004Still ImageKandra Polatis4decfc04157f6073c75cc53dcab9d25e87c02133
The journals published by the Osaka Mitsukoshi maintained through much of the Asia-Pacific War the store's long tradition of special features spotlighting daughters (reijo) of the local elite. In this case, the featured families were drawn from Osaka corporate leadership along with members of the aristocracy. Framed as a visit (hōmon) to a particular household, the neighborhoods (though not exact addresses) of the women were often mentioned along with their names, ages, schools, and hobbies (both Japanese, such as flower arranging, and Western, such as sewing clothes from patterns).
The map above roughly indicates a number of the neighborhoods mentioned, likely recognized by readers at the time as elegant and exclusive, one being Ashiya. (Unfortunately, many of the prewar place names are no longer used and challenging to pin down.)
Concrete details such as neighborhood provided in the course of these Mitsukoshi household “visits” served to ground the seeming reality of an idealized Mitsukoshi customer. The effect of this carefully curated fact—precisely not fiction—was to nurture what could only be a fantasy for most. Nevertheless, we can read these reijo features backwards to begin to reconstruct some spatial dimensions of class.
If you then turn to the portraits in this long-running series, you might note that the featured women were always located in gracious and intimate spaces suited for performances, creating art, or hobbies. They were never engaged in the act of consuming itself. It would seem that good taste demanded subtlety in, though by no means rejection of, modern consumerism.