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Nickerson Rebecca

Nickerson Rebecca

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Published by Nadzirah Nadzar
japan
japan

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Nadzirah Nadzar on May 20, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/20/2013

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 © 2011 Rebecca Ann Nickerson
 
IMPERIAL DESIGNS:FASHION, COSMETICS, AND CULTURAL IDENTITYIN JAPAN, 1931-1943BYREBECCA ANN NICKERSONDISSERTATIONSubmitted in partial fulfillment of the requirementsfor the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in East Asian Languages & Culturesin the Graduate College of theUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011Urbana, IllinoisDoctoral Committee:Professor Ronald P. Toby, Chair Professor Nancy AbelmannProfessor Antoinette M. BurtonAssistant Professor Robert T. Tierney
 
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Abstract
This dissertation analyzes how women and gender shaped Japanese imperial culture athome by examining fashion and cosmetics in the 1930s and 1940s. In contrast to conventionalnarratives of Japanese imperial history that posit Japan’s nation- and empire-building projects asseparate entities, one extending out from the other, I place women and gender at the heart of myanalysis in order to show how nation and empire were mutually constituted through a singular  process of colonial modernity. I examine debates on the “national uniform” and ethnic costumesto demonstrate how women functioned as objects in the quest to define Japanese culturalidentity, which I argue was shaped through both Japan’s semi-colonial relationship with the Westand its imperial aspirations in Asia. At the same time, I introduce the figures of Miss Shiseido— an innovative marketing campaign by Japan’s leading maker of luxury cosmetics—and TanakaChiyo—Japan’s first fashion designer—to show how the materiality of fashion and cosmeticsenabled individual women to act as subjects with the capacity to shape and transform their worldthrough their consumption practices and the choices they made in assembling their appearance.By analyzing the ways in which critics struggled to respond to shifting ideals of femininitythrough discourses on women’s fashion and cosmetics, I show how women and gender wereconstitutive of Japanese imperialism and how they expose the incompleteness of Japan’simperial regime.

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