The Kimono and the Bustle: Fashion in Early Modern Tokyo and Paris (Remote)

Lee Makela
Associate Professor of East Asian History, Emeritus, at Cleveland State University
Monday November 16
noon-1:00 p.m. ET

Among cultural historians, Fashion and Fashion Consciousness, "change for the sake of change", play key roles in defining and illustrating the general overall process of modernization at work.  Other factors - mechanization, urbanization, the emergence of a monetary economy, the development of a national identity - contribute as well.  Taken together these various characteristics initially appeared most obviously to researchers in the European context as early as the 14th century.   However, as this presentation shows, most of this evidence of change, growth, and development also took place in Japan (the only non-western culture to experience modernization as so defined).  Even then, early accounts denied Japan had any sense of Fashion Consciousness, citing the fact that the kimono experienced none of the style shifts evident in the West.  This presentation is designed to illustrate that Fashion and Fashion Consciousness did, in fact, infuse the modernization process in Japan.  The defining terms may have differed, but the end result mirrored that of the European experience.

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