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.
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.