Splitting Hairs: History and the Politics of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century Japan

  title={Splitting Hairs: History and the Politics of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century Japan},
  author={Suzanne O'Brien},
  journal={The Journal of Asian Studies},
  pages={1309 - 1339}
  • Suzanne O'Brien
  • Published 1 November 2008
  • History
  • The Journal of Asian Studies
This essay examines the changes in hairstyles that have become overdetermined signs of Japan's transition to modernity in histories of the Meiji era (1868–1912). It demonstrates that Japanese men's adoption of short styles, relentlessly cited as a key example of modernization (understood as Westernization), was a much longer and more complex process than most accounts suggest. It explores the politics of pervasive assumptions about how and why men and women cut their hair in the 1870s, and… 
9 Citations
The Nation-State, the Age/Gender System, and the Reconstitution of Erotic Desire in Nineteenth-Century Japan
Put simply, hair and clothing make a difference. To phrase the matter another way, the presence of these material and visual forms, or alternatively their absence from the human body, embodies potent
‘Not So Japan-Easy’: The British Reception of Japanese Dress in the Late Nineteenth Century
Abstract This article examines British responses to changes in Japanese dress during the Victorian period. The disapproval of the Japanese adoption of European clothing is shown to be linked to
Enlightenment Geisha: The Sex Trade, Education, and Feminine Ideals in Early Meiji Japan
  • A. Stanley
  • Education
    The Journal of Asian Studies
  • 2013
During the mid-1870s, fearing the legal innovations of a “civilized” state, geisha and their employers recast Tokugawa-era practices of civic engagement and educational attainment in the language of
Styling Hirohito: Modernity, Monarchy, and “Western Clothes” in Interwar Japan
This paper examines the Japanese crown prince and emperor Hirohito during the 1920s to think more critically about how fashion historians can analyze “western” dress in non-western contexts. In par...
Was Fashion a European Invention?: The Kimono and Economic Development in Japan
Abstract It is still widely assumed that the emergence of fashion was a uniquely European phenomenon and that, conversely, non-Western clothing systems must have remained static and “traditional.”
Imagined Selves
Beauty by Plum and Window, a hanging scroll produced in 1907 by the Japanese artist Okuhara Seiko, calls into question fundamental presumptions about literati art, a mode of art-making often seen
World War I and the Triumph of a New Japan, 1919-1930
Introduction 1. World War I as anchor 2. Structural foundations of a new Japan 3. Internationalism 4. Democracy 5. Disarmament 6. World power 7. Culture of peace 8. Hamaguchi Osachi and the triumph


Splendid Monarchy: Power and Pageantry in Modern Japan
Splendid Monarchy: Power and Pageantry in Modern Japan. TAKASHI FUJITANI. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996; xiv 305 pp. (cloth). This is a historical ethnography of the Japanese
Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference
Acknowlegments ix Introduction: The Idea of Provincializing Europe 3 Part One: Historicism and the Narration of Modernity Chapter 1. Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History 27 Chapter 2. The Two
History's Disquiet: Modernity, Cultural Practice, and the Question of Everyday Life
Introduction: The Unavoidable "Actuality" of Everyday Life 1: Tracking the Dinosaur: Area Studies in a Time of "Globalism" 2: The "Mystery of the Everyday": Everydayness in History 3: "Dialectical
Sirens of the Western Shore: The Westernesque Femme Fatale, Translation, and Vernacular Style in Modern Japanese Literature
Indra Levy introduces a new archetype in the study of modern Japanese literature: the "Westernesque femme fatale," an alluring figure who is ethnically Japanese but evokes the West in her physical
Alternative Narratives in Modern Japanese History
Acknowledgements Illustrations Introduction 1 Goemon's New World View 2 The Japanese Discovery of Japan 3 The Village Elite in the Restoration Drama 4 Everyday Politics in Restoration Period Japan 5
A modern history of Japan : from Tokugawa times to the present
Maps, Tables, and Figures Preface Introduction: Enduring Imprints on the Longer Past Part 1: Crisis of the Tokugawa Regime 1. The Tokugawa Polity Unification The Tokugawa Political Settlements The
Translating the West: Language and Political Reason in Nineteenth-Century Japan
This analysis of of the transformation of political thought in 19th century Japan examines the transmission to Japan of key concepts - liberty, rights, sovereignty, and society from Western Europe
Cartographies of Desire: Male-Male Sexuality in Japanese Discourse, 1600-1950
Acknowledgments Note Introduction 1. Authorizing Pleasure: Male-Male Sexuality In Edo-Period Popular Discourse 2. Policing the Perisexual: Male-Male Sexuality In Edo-Period Legal Discourse 3. The
A History of Japan: From Stone Age to Superpower
In a rare combination of comprehensive coverage and sustained critical focus, this book examines Japanese history in its entirety to identify the factors underlying the nation's progression to