Bodies and StructuresMain MenuWhat We're DoingOverview essayHow to Use This SiteAn orientationModulesList of modulesTag MapConceptual indexComplete Grid VisualizationGrid Visualization of Bodies and StructuresGeotagged MapGeographic IndexWhat We LearnedContributors share what they learned through the Bodies and Structures process.ReferencesReferences tag for all modules and essayContributorsContributor BiosAcknowledgementsAcknowledgementsContact usContact information pageLicensing and ImagesThe original content of this site is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND International 4.0 License.Kate McDonald306bb1134bc892ab2ada669bed7aecb100ef7d5fDavid Ambaras1337d6b66b25164b57abc529e56445d238145277 This publication is hosted on resources provided by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences IT department at NC State University.
Each collection, boxed or unboxed, embodied a hidden network of production and distribution. If unpacked, it speaks of local labor, local conditions for production, and transportation routes. Where did all the goods that Mitsukoshi sold come from? These stories are generally left out of the usual accounts of the retailer. We might begin by asking who made Mitsukoshi's foundational commodity, textiles? Janet Hunter's article, "Japanese Women at Work, 1880-1920," is an excellent starting place.
Below we have a gift box of food items curated for the winter season, each item carefully labeled by type. If we think of it in terms of production rather than consumption, we can begin to map out points (based on probability) in an Osaka-centered network in the map above. Would it look different if the gift box was offered by a branch of Mitsukoshi in Tokyo? If you look closely, you will find that the Mitsukoshi brand was on several items. What kind of arrangement did this represent? Was it just a label, or was Mitsukoshi more directly involved in maritime and agricultural production, as it sometimes was in manufacture? There are many questions to be answered when we try to reconstruct the production side of Mitsukoshi.
Below is a "map" that hints at production and circulation lines on a much broader scale. While the goods themselves were rather ordinary, the graphic composition implied that such items flowed to a Japanese center from all over the world. Was this a map-like gesture to claim dominance? Could one draw such a map for a non-imperialist power? More broadly, how might this and other product maps be used to discuss the distribution of power across regions, nations, and the world, and how these relations might shift over time?