Bodies and Structures

Locating Reijo

The journals published by the Osaka Mitsukoshi during the latter years of the Asia-Pacific War carried on through 1941 with the store's long tradition of special features spotlighting daughters (reijo) o​f the local elite, in this case Osaka corporate leadership along with a few aristocratic families.  Framed as a visit (homon) to a particular household, the neighborhoods (though not exact addresses) of the women were often mentioned as a preceeding context for their names, ages, schools, and hobbies (both Japanese, such as flower arranging, and Western, such as sewing clothes from patterns).  

The map above approximately indicates some neighborhoods mentioned, doubtless recognized by the readers at the time as elegant and exclusive. Unfortunately, a number of the precise place names are no longer used.  All together, these details from a household "visit" secured the seeming reality of an idealized Mitsukoshi consumer. We might note that in this series of portraits, the women were never engaged in the act of consuming itself, but rather situated in gracious and intimate spaces suited for performances, creating art, or hobbies. 


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