Re-Made in Japan


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Everyday Life and Consumer Taste in a Changing Society

Edited and witn an introduction by Joseph J. Tobin

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Colonel Sanders, Elvis, Mickey Mouse, and Jack Daniels have been enthusiastically embraced by Japanese consumers in recent decades. But rather than simply imitate or borrow from the West, the Japanese reinterpret and transform Western products and practices to suit their culture. This entertaining and enlightening book shows how in the process of domesticating foreign goods and customs, the Japanese have created a culture in which once-exotic practices (such as ballroom dancing) have become familiar, and once- familiar practices (such as public bathing) have become exotic.

Written by scholars from anthropology, sociology, and the humanities, the book ranges from analyses of Tokyo Disneyland and the Japanese passion for the Argentinean tango to discussions of Japanese haute couture and the search for an authentic nouvelle cuisine japonaise. These topics are approached from a variety of perspectives, with explorations of the interrelations of culture, ideology, and national identity and analyses of the roles that gender, class, generational, and regional differences play in the patterning of Japanese consumption. The result is a fascinating look at a dynamic society that is at once like and unlike our own.

Joseph J. Tobin, associate professor in the College of Education and the Center for Youth Research of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is also a coauthor of Preschool in Three Cultures: Japan, China, and the United States.

"A fresh, many-splendored anthropology of Japanese consumerism: cooking classes on a luxury yacht, the great Christmas Eve cake, the 'botoru kuppu' (whiskey bottle kept at bar), the $100 melon, the engagement ring at two and half times the groom's monthly salary, the 'famicon' (family computer), and much more. A rich assortment."—Ezra F. Vogel, Henry Ford II Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University

"The purpose of this volume . . . is to get away from unflattering views of the Japanese as mere imitators or passive recipients of external culture. . . . The book's contributors . . . are to be commended for their success in meeting these goals. . . . Well written topical, and provocative."—Walter Edwards, Monumenta Nipponica

"[This collection] shows how the Japanese market to the Japanese, transforming Western products to suit Japanese culture. It offers unique insight into what the Japanese consider Western, making it an excellent tool for anyone wishing to understand Japanese consumer markets. . . . A truly unique work. Highly recommended for all business and cultural studies collections."—Library Journal

"A highly engaging work in the anthropology of modern Japan. Its exploration of Japanese consumption pattern offers insights into the Japanese self."—V. Lee Hamilton, professor of sociology, University of Maryland

ISBN: 9780300060829
Publication Date: September 28, 1994
272 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
40 b/w illus.
Preschool in Three Cultures

Japan, China and the United States

Joseph J. Tobin, David Y.H. Wu, and Dana H. Davidson

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