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Unformatted text preview: shing, and journalism were among the factors that contributed to the widening of opportunities, especially for middle-class
urban dwellers, to participate in a new kind of up-to-date “cultural life.”
Like much of the movement for civilization and enlightenment in the
early Meiji period, many aspects of this post-World War I pursuit of a
cultural life appear to have been little more than frivolous imitations of The Fruits of Modernity 287 Fig. 67 Portrait of a “modern girl” (moga) of the Taishò period, by Wada Seika,
ca. 1930s (Honolulu Academy of Arts, Purchase 1994 [7544.1] ) Western habits and fads. The addition of one or two rooms decorated and
furnished in the Western manner could, for example, transform a mere
house into a “cultural home.” And, while “modern girls” could be seen
strolling the Ginza with permanent waves and shortened hemlines, “modern boys” sported “all back” hairdos and dark-rimmed, Harold Lloyd
glasses (fig. 67). Even the great earthquake that wrought a holocaust of
destruction in Tokyo in 1923 ironically helped to advance the popular
culture; for in the process of the city’s reconstruction it was provided with
a greatly increased number of bars, cafés, and other places of leisure and
entertainment where the “modern” generation could meet and socialize.
Unlike the age of civilization and enlightenment, when the West represented an exciting but bewildering kind of utopia and only a relatively
few people could really partake of it, the evolution of a mass culture in
the 1920s not only affected (by definition) virtually all Japanese, but also
engendered in them a more cosmopolitan outlook and a stronger sense
of internationalism than they had ever had before. Perhaps the greatest 288 The Fruits of Modernity spur to this newly internationalist sense was the boom in foreign sports
that occurred about this time. American baseball became the national
mania that it still is today in Japan, and such leisure sports as golf and
tennis also gained steadily in popularity. Japanese athletes, moreover, became increasi...
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2013 for the course ANTH 142 taught by Professor Hans during the Spring '13 term at UBC.
- Spring '13